By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Speaking to participants in an international meeting of Retrouvaille, an organization that helps married couples in crisis, Pope Benedict XVI said marital crises can be overcome and be a “passage to a new phase” of their life together.
A serious matrimonial crisis, said Pope Benedict, “has two faces. On the one hand, and especially in its most acute and painful phase, it appears to be a failure; … this is the negative face.
“But there is another face, one we are often unaware of but that God sees. In fact, as nature shows us, each crisis is a passage to a new phase of life.”
Retrouvaille was founded in Canada in 1977 by Guy and Jeannine Beland to help couples in serious crisis to face their problems with a specific programme aimed at rebuilding their relationship, not as an alternative to psychological therapies but following a different and complementary route.
Three hundred participants in an international meeting of the Retrouvaille Association met with the Pope at Castelgandolfo on Sept. 26 where he applauded their work, saying it offers couples a “handhold so as not to lose the way altogether and gradually to climb back up the slope.”
Recalling the evangelical episode of the wedding banquet at Cana, the Holy Father indicated that the “good wine” held back until the end “is a symbol of salvation, of the new nuptial alliance that Jesus came to seal with humankind”.
In this context he affirmed that “when married couples in difficulties or – as your experience shows – already separated, entrust themselves to Mary and turn to Him Who made them ‘a single flesh’, they can be certain that the crisis will – with the help of the Lord – become a way to grow, and that love will be purified, matured and reinforced”.
The Pope acknowledged that their work is “counter-current” to the prevailing view of so many professionals who work with couples in crisis.
“Today, in fact, when a couple goes into crisis many people are to be found who advise them to separate. Divorce is even easily proposed to people married in the name of the Lord, forgetting that man cannot separate what God has brought together.”
In order to achieve their mission of helping couples to find their way back together through God, he said, “You need to nourish your spiritual life continually, to put love into what you do so that contact with difficult situations does not cause your hope to run dry or be reduced to a mere formula.”
© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace. http://www.womenofgrace.com