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The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness

Late Monday night, my father-in-law died. A few hours prior on the same day, my family and I celebrated our daughter’s 12th baptismal anniversary. He died on the same day we celebrate our daughter’s entrance into new life in Christ and His Church. We now pray for his entrance into eternal life.

It is hard to grieve the loss of a man I tragically barely knew. My husband has struggled to articulate this to friends and priests who have been praying these past two weeks for a happy and holy death for his dad. It’s hard to explain and understand what it is like to grieve someone who has been a ghost for decades.

The truth is, my husband’s dad chose to reject and walk away from him and most of his other nine children years ago. I have grieved the loss of a relationship with his dad for my husband, our daughter, and me. My only hope now is that in the next life all will be healed and reconciled in Christ.

Even though we have not had a relationship with my husband’s dad throughout our entire marriage, I was blessed to watch the Lord work in tremendous ways in my husband. It is through my husband’s witness that I have come to a deeper understanding of our call to forgiveness and the supernatural gifts Christ’s gives to us when we step towards others in forgiveness.

Two years ago, it became clear that his dad was going to die sooner rather than later. He had developed Parkinson’s, dementia, and had ignored treatable skin cancer to such an extent that it started tunneling into his ear, and eventually, fatally, into his brain this year. My husband became increasingly concerned about his father’s soul and the need for his dad to reconcile with family members he had hurt before he died and, even though he was a practicing Catholic, to God. The only way my husband could begin this process was to step painfully into the breach and to fully forgive his father and to tell him as much.

One afternoon, my husband made his way to his father’s hospital room. It wasn’t easy for him after barely seeing him in decades. It is only by God’s grace that we find the strength to put aside what we are due in justice and charity in order to turn towards others who have deeply hurt us with mercy. He wanted to go alone, so he could have an honest discussion with his father. I stayed behind and prayed the Rosary and interceded for him throughout the visit.

Read more at Catholic Exchange 

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