Written by Rev. George Vink
Although not all of our children and grandchildren were present to enjoy “family time,” on Christmas day, I relished Oma’s delicious food and our being together. Sometimes though, when I hear of families who have all theirs nearby, a little envy may creep into my heart. Family life together and sharing life and love is a precious gift. We’re blessed!
With these thoughts in mind, I found it thought-provoking that Pope Francis acknowledged last Sunday as an official Catholic feast day commemorating Jesus’ family. He wrote a letter to married couples released last Sunday as a “Christmas Present” to them. He did so to encourage them, acknowledging that the pandemic has aggravated family problems. This pastoral Pope urged couples to seek help and always remember three key words in a marriage: “Please, Thanks and Sorry.” He added, “Maybe we aren’t born into an exceptional, problem-free family, but our family is our story — everyone has to think: It’s my story.”
Further, Francis noted that a pandemic-enforced togetherness tested the patience of parents and siblings alike. He urged parents to seek help to overcome conflicts, including prayer, adding “Remember…forgiveness heals every wound.” He closed, returning to our three important words in a marriage: “Please, Thanks and Sorry.”
Reading his prescription, I thought, “How applicable these three words are to all of our relationships!” I asked myself, “Do I use them often enough?” Or, “Which one do I find most difficult to say? Why?” For sure something to think about heading into 2022. Anyhow, I’m thankful for the fatherly challenge Pope Francis presented.