Being Broken Open to Reconciliation

by Mark Votava


Sometimes I think that my pain is too great and there is no hope for reconciliation with others. But God constantly proves me wrong revealing to me how I can live differently with others in peace and grace.  This is a countercultural posture that could bring profound healing to our relationships.

•  Our biggest tragedies can be our greatest moments of reconciliation

When we go through sorrow and pain we can manifest Christ to one another through reconciliation and grace.  Our biggest tragedies in life can be our greatest moments of reconciliation.  Pain can become the medium that draws us together as the body of Christ in the parish.  Pain and sorrow can keep us grounded in our presence one to another.

•  We cannot run from or escape our pain

We cannot run from our pain.  We cannot escape it.  Some pain is a part of every relationship.

•  Pain can become our teacher if we are broken open by it

We will experience pain as the body of Christ.  But our pain can become our teacher if we are open to it.  Pain can bring us closer if our wounds, pain and sorrow are embraced as a sacred part of life that is necessary to our own human process.  Pain can foster maturity and depth if we are broken open by it.

•  Becoming authentic with our pain

The body of Christ cannot afford to mask the pain of everyday life in the parish.  We must become authentic with our pain.  Jesus has not completed us.  As much as we would like to believe it so, this is not the case.

•  Living into the ordinary miracle of reconciliation

Our lives are filled with brokenness and pain.  Most of the time we don’t know how to show grace and love.  But reconciliation can become a living, ordinary miracle among us.  Christ longs to reconcile us together so that we can live at peace with one another.  Macrina Wiederkehr, who has lived a monastic life for over forty years, says:

“We are absent from life far too much.  Sorrow makes it impossible for us to be absent, and so, bless us with real presence.  In the midst of sorrows, distractions fall away, and we are there, raw and open, often confused, always vulnerable, little and great.  In sorrow we are nudged to our depths.  I do not claim to understand the mystery of suffering, but I often meet people who have walked through great sorrow; they seem to wear the face of God.  These are the people at whose feet I yearn to sit.”

How can we be honest about our pain and brokenness to pursue reconciliation with others?