Reconciliation has cleansed me dozens of times, but it has resurrected a significant relationship: the one with my father.
In 2011, I knew that I needed to reconcile with my dad – and ultimately with God — for being a distant son. Perhaps my desire was to reconnect with my father after my parents’ divorce in 1995. Perhaps my desire was to yearn for a father-son relationship as I recently had a child of my own. Or perhaps my desire was to resolve that nagging feeling in my soul that I, too, had done something wrong. Whatever the reason, I was asking God for a “fresh start” after years of pain.
I carried decades of frustration, sadness, and burden with me. Sharing a story that desperately needed to be told, I exposed my guilt to my parish priest. I found a safe place in the confessional to share critical details; in fact, during our discussion, we discovered a solution as to how to best proceed. Years of turmoil were transformed into a new beginning for our relationship. What began as an intimidating process ultimately developed into a lifetime of blessings.
Eventually, my dad and I reconciled. Instead of being limited by a deathbed conversation, we could process the past, and more importantly, our future. He now is a vital part of my life. I am proud to include him as a member of my family. My three children relish his company. I cannot wait to visit with him. Importantly, there is hope.
The sacrament of reconciliation has ignited a new relationship with my father. This spiritual healing happened because I involved God at the foundation. I can freely say that I now love my dad. This year we honour St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus. Not all of us had a good relationship with our own fathers. This year, let us pray to God the Father for reconciliation in families.
- John Kindschuh
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United States)