.- Meeting with participants of the Retrouvaille Association, Pope Benedict XVI explained that when a marriage is suffering, the spouses are facing an opportunity that "will help them to grow." Guided by Mary and with the help of the Lord, their love will be purified, deepened and strengthened.
This morning at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father received 300 participants of the Retrouvaille Association, an international movement which aims to assist married couples in crisis. In his meeting with them, the Pontiff recalled how the group was formed in Canada in 1977, by husband and wife, Guy and Jeannine Beland, "to help couples in serious crisis to face their problems with a specific program aimed at rebuilding their relationship, not as an alternative to psychological therapies but following a different and complementary route."
The Pope then stressed that though the members are not professionals, they are married couples who have faced similar marital difficulties and have "overcome them with the grace of God and the support of Retrouvaille."
The Holy Father also said that serious marital crisis "is a reality that has two faces. On the one hand, and especially in its most acute and painful phase, it appears to be a failure; this is the negative face. But there is another face, one we are often unaware of but that God sees. In fact, as nature shows us, each crisis is a passage to a new phase of life. At the moment of break-up," he told his audience, "you offer couples ... a positive reference to which to entrust themselves in their desperation."
In this way "your meetings offer a 'handhold' so as not to lose the way altogether and gradually to climb back up the slope."
Finally, the Pontiff concluded by emphasizing the need to carry out this mission of helping married couples in crisis while nourishing "your spiritual life continually, to put love into what you do so that contact with difficult situations does not cause your hope to run dry or be reduced to a mere formula."