If we love, Jesus will recognize us as his family, as his brothers and sisters. This is a great opportunity: it surprises us; it frees us from the past, from our fears, from our plans. Thus, even our limits and fragilities can lead us to our realization, and we will make a big leap foward.
I was a student at the middle school; classes and homework were fine, but the relationship with my classmates wasn’t. One day, while I was finishing my science homework, I was verbally insulted by one them for being an Asian. I didn’t know how to react to his racist abuse. I did not utter a word, but a strong feeling of revenge gripped me. Then a strange thought crossed my mind: “Now is your chance”. It took me a while to understand quite clearly that it was “now my chance to love my enemies”. My first reaction was to ignore this and defend my Asian identity. Loving my enemy seemed as if I would only be contributing towards a more negative situation. I was very uncertain about what to do, but after some time I decided to keep silent. I forced my angry heart to forgive while I offered my personal wound to Jesus, who suffered so much on the cross. After forgiving my enemy, I sincerely experienced a happiness I never felt before.
(James – USA)
Our third child was born with Down syndrome and I considered this cruelty of nature as a punishment for my marital infidelities. I was ashamed to go round with this child and I carried so many unanswered questions inside me. But as F. grew up, I started to discover primordial goodness and cosmic peace in this child. I cannot explain the relationship between this and my problematic faith, but slowly I acquired other eyes and, I would say, another heart too. The relationship in my family changed as well. Strangely enough, I began to live F’s condition as a gift. I have no more problems about faith and dogmas; everything is grace. Behind the veil of misunderstanding there is innocent and pure truth.
(D.T. – Portugal)
Back to family life
I left my family for someone I had fallen in love with at work. Blinded by passion, I didn’t realize what great hardship I was inflicting on my family. I was still in touch with my children, mainly with my eldest daughter who suffered most because of my absence. When her husband abandoned her and her three little kids and my daughter fell into a depression, I realised that the same suffering I caused was repeating itself. God gave me the grace to be fully aware of this and to repent. I did everything I could to be close to my daughter’s broken family. I looked for my son-in-law and spoke to him at length. He humiliated me when he told me off and pointed out that I had no right to judge because his wife’s traumas were partly my fault: their marriage failed precisely because of her lack of balance. I knelt and wept, asking him for forgiveness. He said that he would think about it. After a few months of anxious uncertainty, there was a ray of hope: my daughter told me that her husband was willing to try and settle into family life once again.
(C.M. – Argentina)
(from The Gospel of the Day, Città Nuova, year VI, no. 4, July-August 2020)