Vatican City, Rome, Italy – Pope Francis spoke on the role of forgiveness in helping families become a force for the betterment of society during his Wednesday, Nov. 4 general audience address in St. Peter’s Square.
“The practice of forgiveness not only preserves families from division,” but allows them to aid society in becoming “less evil and cruel,” the Pope said. He compared the family to a gym in which “reciprocal forgiveness” is exercised and he expressed his desire for families to rediscover the “treasure” of reciprocal forgiveness.
“No love can endure for long,” without forgiveness, he said, reflecting on the “Our Father” prayer which calls us to forgive as we ourselves are forgiven.
“We cannot live without forgiveness – or, at least, we cannot live well, especially in the family.”
Forgiveness should be exercised every day, the Pope continued, saying we must take into account our fragility and pride. He also warned against allowing too much time to pass before forgiving; otherwise, it becomes more difficult.
“Do not allow the day to end without saying ‘I’m sorry,’ without making peace between husband and wife, between parents and children, between brother and sister… between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law!”
In learning to forgive and ask forgiveness, wounds are healed, marriage is strengthened, and the family becomes fortified against our own acts of meanness, both small and great, the Pope said.
“Don’t finish the day at war, understand? Forgive.”
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