The wounds caused by the parent in their children´s souls certainly are the most difficult to heal. That´s why we´re talking about “School of Mercy Doctorate”. To get a doctor´s degree, we need to study hard and make many sacrifices and the process is long. In the same way, to be able to act with mercy when our parents wounded us, we need a lot of patience and many sacrifices. But in the end of the process, we will get a huge prize: our freedom.
Mercy makes us really free. Free from the hurt, free from the guilt, free to love, free to serve. This is the freedom that God wants to give through his mercy, inviting us to act with mercy, especially with our parents.
Father and mother should love their children unconditionally and being the reflect of God´s love to their children. They don´t have the “right” to hurt us. But the human being is not perfect. Father and mother aren´t perfect. They fail and we fail too. The hurt and many times even the rancor are installed in our hearts. What can we do now?
Feeling rejection or not loved by your own parents (or just one of them, father or mother) can be a big tragedy in the life of any person. Many emotional and psychological imbalances are caused by this wound in the soul. And it hurts so much that many times we want to pretend it doesn´t exist. But in this Year of Mercy, we are invited to clean the wound so it can heal.
We can´t do anything without the help of the grace. This way, the first step is to ask the grace of forgiveness. Alone we can´t make it. Let´s do what Jesus did at the cross, ask the Father to forgive those who were hurting him. If we are not able to forgive, then is the Father who should forgive for us.
It is useless to want to change what is already past. It is useless to want to change the other person. The only person we can change is ourselves. This way, if we can´t change the situation, we should change how we see that problem.
Concerning our parents, this reality is even stronger. Certainly, they are no longer young and, with age, the imperfections grow bigger. And it might be that now they need our care, our physical and psychological help. This is a great challenge for us if there is hurt and resentment in our relationship with our parents.
It is not a matter of forgetting what they did wrong, but to heal our memory. We need to see everything that happened with the merciful eyes of God. Our ego might demand justice, that the evil is repaired, that the father or the mother who hurt us, at least, ask forgiveness. But mercy is bigger than justice, and it goes beyond justice.
Mercy asks us to look to our father, to our mother and say (even if it is only in our minds): “Look, I know you hurt me. I don´t understand the reason. Maybe it is the reflections of your own hurts, of your tough life, of your own wounds. I understand your limitations. But I don´t want to suffer with it any longer. I don´t want to let this resentment harm our relationship. So I decide to forgive you. And with the help of Jesus Christ, I´m sure I will do it.”
What is most important in love is not how we feel – because feelings may change – but what we will. Willing to forgive is the first big step. One prayer that helps a lot when we want to forgive, but our heart still resists, is the “Forgiveness Chaplet”. It is very simple: in the big beads of the Rosary, you pray the Our Father. In the small beads, instead of praying the Hail Mary, you say “I forgive my mother and my mother forgives me”. You can replace “my mother” for any person you want. This prayer makes real miracles, because at the same time you forgive, you ask for forgiveness. It´s a humility exercise, because usually we don´t think that we also need to ask forgiveness. But we might have also hurt our parents.
As Pope Francis said, "... pardon is the instrument placed into our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart. To let go of anger, wrath, violence, and revenge are necessary conditions to living joyfully.”*
*Misericordiae Vultus - http://www2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco_bolla_20150411_misericordiae-vultus.html