May I, Thank You & I’m Sorry
In any relationship I am sure that we have all had those times where our beloved drives us absolutely crazy. This obviously comes with the territory of sharing our life with another human being. We are bound to push each other’s buttons, get on each other’s last nerve and be flat out irritating. The simple fact is, we are flawed human beings and when we enter into relationship with another we bring all of those flaws with us. So how can we enter into the life of another with respect, love and tenderness? Moreover, how can we share that life with them?
In his second half of his address to engaged couples, Pope Francis encourages us to never forget our manners. He urges us to rediscover the value of the words “May I? Thank you, and I’m Sorry.”
“May I?”, or more commonly known as “Please”: Pope Francis tell us “‘Please’ is a kind request to be able to enter into the life of someone else with respect and care. True love does not impose itself with hardness and aggression.” We need to remember that we never have a right to be in the life of someone else, they do not owe us anything nor should their love be demanded of us. I often, in my own relationship with my boyfriend, expect him to include me in every aspect of his life and not only that, but also to run every aspect of it by me first. On one hand, this seems so natural, we have been dating for almost 3 1/12 years now and best friends for 7. Of course, I should be involved in every aspect of his life, even if it is indirectly. I am trying to build a life with him, so why should I have to ask the words “May I?”. Unfortunately, I have forgotten then, as many of us surely have, that I am called to approach his life with respectful asking. His life does indeed exist independent of my own and I should come to him tenderly asking if I can be a part of it and rejoicing when he, as he always does, says yes.
“Thank You”: The Holy Father says, “In your relationship, and in your future as married couples, it is important to keep alive your awareness that the other person is a gift from God, and we should always give thanks for gifts from God. … It is not merely a kind word to use with strangers, in order to be polite. It is necessary to know how to say thank you, to journey ahead together.” How often do we thank God for the material blessings in our lives? For our education, our home, the food we eat, ext. And how often do we forget to thank God for the souls that he has brought into our lives? Especially those of the ones closest to us. The truth is, the soul of our beloved is the greatest gift God has bestowed upon us and that which we should be most thankful for. Let us turn to God in humble prayer and praise Him for the wonderful gift of our beloved, or for the souls of anyone he has placed in our lives, and rejoice over the fact that God is SO good. But we can’t just thank God. We have to directly thank our beloved as well. For me, this is where I fail more often. I feel that I am pretty consistent with thanking God for Timothy. However, how often do I personally thank him for the gift of his presence? How often do I thank him for all he does for me or for the unbelievable amount of love he has for me? We should all take this day as a new opportunity to say “thank you” to all of the wonderful gifts God has placed in our lives.
“I’m Sorry”: Pope Francis speaks words of wisdom as he says “We are all aware that the perfect family does not exist, nor does the perfect husband, nor the perfect wife. We exist, and we are sinners. Jesus, who knows us well, teaches us a secret: never let a day go by without asking forgiveness, or without restoring peace to your home. … If we learn to apologize and to forgive each other, the marriage will last and will move on”. I have two points of reflection on this topic:
1) I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. How often have we heard those words? How often, though, have they fallen short of what we actually wanted to hear? I find that today, in my own life, we have forgotten how to say I’m sorry in true authentic ways. In any true and deep relationship, the simple words “I’m sorry” are not always going to cut it. I know, for me at least, I need to hear the words “I’m sorry” along with what you are sorry for, that you understand how it affected me and how you plan to avoid doing it again. High maintenance, believe me I know. But I think underneath this is a real desire for true communication. We need to learn how to be transparent with our beloved, how to speak from the depths of our hearts and how to speak with tenderness and love.
2) In our lives today we often feel that we do not need to apologize for our opinions, our attitudes or the way we perceive others. We live in a relativistic culture that teaches us that there is truth only in the way that we perceive any given situation. How easy it is, then, to find ways out of being wrong. We should guard ourselves, however, against ever thinking that we are without fault.What we have forgotten is that on the other side of any disagreement, out lash, or fight is another human person who is created with dignity and deserves our respect. We all fall, make mistakes and sin. Thankfully, it doesn’t end here. Christ has offered us all forgiveness, if we only seek it. Let us not only seek forgiveness from God, but also from those whom we have hurt.