As a priest in the church, I am very sensitized to the very real brokenness in human lives and families.
Every family I meet, pastor to, and build relationships with, whether in joyful or sorrowful circumstances, I quickly discover their wounds.
Every person, every family, in one way or another, is broken and wounded. No one is excluded. Some may try to hide it, but none are excluded.
In our Canadian Society, Sunday was "Father's Day." For various reasons, including the magnitude of divorced marriages and broken relationships around us, again as a priest giving pastoral oversight and leadership to the community, I choose not to celebrate Father's Day or Mother's Day in our liturgy or mass or worship on that Sunday. I know that for many families that it is not a day to celebrate.
Not only am I sensitive to marriage issues because of my pastoral experience, but also from my personal life.
My father was an alcoholic and, in the best interest of her children, my mother left him when I was only four years old. I grew up in a single parent family where my mother had to work overtime to feed, clothe and care for her children.
I am thankful for my mother's sacrifice. And in the context of a broken relationship, her continued love and support was the very best that she could give to me. And, believe me, I am thankful for her commitment to us.
In marriages and relationships that are going well, if couples are wise, they will learn more relational tools to make their marriage even better.
In marriages and relationships that are not going well, couples can learn more about themselves and what is necessary to help their relationship survive.
In marriages and relationships that fail, for whatever reasons, people can learn how to best move on with their lives in separate directions, If children are involved, parents can learn how to put their children first, and how to best care for and support them in their context.
There is absolutely nothing easy about sustaining healthy relationships throughout a lifetime.
What has healed me in my broken relationship with my dad, is an open and life giving relationship with my Heavenly Father fully revealed in Christ. As I know the joy and love with being in relationship with Christ, I am better able to forgive those who hurt me, and I am better able to forgive myself when I let others down.
What I desire most is to be in right relationship - with those close to me, with the community, with the stranger....with my Maker.