On World Marriage Day 2017, I offer this brief reflection:
The freely given promise made by husband and wife and sanctified by God is unique. It is a promise not only to remain faithful to each other but also the foundation on which the life of the family is based. It is a commitment to not only raise a family but also to care for elderly parents.
“Through their union in love, the couple experiences the beauty of fatherhood and motherhood, and shares plans, trials, expectations and concerns; they learn care for one another and mutual forgiveness.” (Relatio Finalis 2015, 49)
Today, the vocation of family life is full of many challenges. And it doesn’t help that today’s society has done much to weaken the structure of the family. Our society places great value on the satisfaction of the individual. This satisfaction seeking, at all costs and in every action, is held up as a paramount example of freedom. However, love and friendship are strong because of a simple fact that they create a bond without taking away freedom. “Without freedom, there is no friendship. Without liberty, there is no love. Without free consent, there is no marriage.”
“With inner joy and deep comfort, the Church looks to the families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel, encouraging them and thanking them for the testimony they offer. For they bear witness, in a credible way, to the beauty of marriage as indissoluble and perpetually faithful.” (Amoris Laetitia, 86)
With these two lines, Pope Francis opens the section of Amoris Laetitia on “The family and the Church.” He goes on to describe the Church as a “family of families, constantly enriched by the lives of all those domestic churches.” Those domestic churches are our respective families. It’s mutually beneficial relationship. Husband and wife must work to protect the sacrament they have received, but so should the entire Christian community. The love that exists in a family is a perpetual source of energy and life for the Church.
Our society and church will struggle without a solid foundation built on strong families. I work every day to honor my wife and my family. It can be done. It just requires a little effort.
I’d love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to leave a comment below!