[Adapted from Life Missions, Family Healing]:
All challenges that face us eventually come down to tests to see if we handle those challenges with love, faith, and charity. It does not mean that we sweep evil under the rug; love is often firm love. But we must have love as the force behind us and our families.
We all have “toxic” relationships. There are certain people, including relatives, who may simply rub you the wrong way. Make sure first that it isn’t you! Some have been placed to test our love while in other cases there is evil or emotional illness and it causes a reaction – one that you must try to purge from your family. The expression of how a rotten apple can spoil the bunch is especially true with our loved ones: a single difficult person under the influence of the devil or an unclean discarnate spirit can cause mayhem – and channel ancestral darkness like that hose that squirts acidity across the family.
Love everyone — no matter! Don’t let the person cause you to get mad at others. When you get angry, things only pile up (waiting to burst). Nor let others define you. Be who you really are. The remedy is to let living waters of forgiveness and love flow through you from Heaven (and even to those with whom you are alienated because they have sided, on occasion, with your “enemy”).
An incredible example of the power of forgiveness comes to us from Immaculée Ilibagiza, an extraordinary Rwandan woman whose family, of the Tutsi tribe, was murdered – shot or hacked to death – during a horrific genocide in 1994 conducted by rival Hutus. Despite all that the killers did (cutting up her mother, beheading her brother, and destroying everything she knew – forcing her to hide in a tiny bathroom with half a dozen other women for three months, in constant terror) she later forgave the killers to their faces — encouraged to do so by a series of extraordinary dreams in which her brother and parents appeared, showed her how happy they were in Heaven, and told her not to grieve any longer. Those “visitation dreams” helped the African woman form a mission that now involves speaking around the world on the power of forgiveness!
“If there is one thing that characterizes my ministry, it is the message of forgiveness,” noted the charismatic author, Father Robert DeGrandis. “Wherever I go, I tell the people to forgive, forgive, and keep on forgiving. Forgiveness is the pathway to healing. Forgiveness is loving. It is letting go of hardness toward a person; releasing those things ‘held against’ a person; releasing a person from bondage. Forgiveness is a lifelong process and a moment-by-moment grace. I have discovered that when we simply allow the Lord to empower our choice to forgive, the transformation process begins. Forgiveness dissolves the connection with the unlove of the past. The age-old emotions that were ‘buried alive’ are laid to rest. In visualization we see the deceased taken to the forgiving Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. The forgiveness process is multi-directional. First, in the Presence of Jesus, we ask the deceased to forgive us for any wrongs we may have committed. Perhaps that might include the failure to pray for family members who needed prayer. Second, we forgive them for their sinful habits and for the damage they have done. One might say, ‘I forgive you for what you did that is affecting me today.’ Finally, we need to apologize to God for the sins of our ancestors.”
Every family and ancestry – save for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph — has tendencies that were or are negative and need to be purged. It could be a family inclination to selfishness, division, pride, or argumentation. It could be occultism. It could be a preoccupation with materialism. It could be lying. These characteristics need to be cast out as “spirits” – blotches of darkness — or they will repeat themselves like a broken record in our lives and then in the lives of those who come after us. “Loving families lay the foundation for our eternal progress,” writes another who had a near-death episode. “They help us build strengths, identify and overcome weaknesses, and bring challenges of their own for us to overcome. They significantly influence us in our earthly missions and affect how we influence others in their missions. Every family bond – with spouse, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws, uncles, cousins, etcetera – can play a crucial role in teaching us how to love and be loved.”
[resources: Life Missions, Family Healing]