Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis
FAMILY COMMISSION Fr. Francis Dor. OFMCap.
CONCLUSIONS OF THE SYNOD OF THE FAMILY
PART II - Chapter 2
The Family in the Magisterium of the Church
The Church has received from Jesus, her divine Master, the mission to teach humanity the ways of God. And indeed, Our ways are not God’s ways (cf. Is 55,8). God’s ways can be really embarrassing as when Jesus asked the servants at the wedding feast in Cana to fill the jars with water when they needed wine, (cf. Jn 2, 1-11). The Second chapter of the Synod conclusions summarizes the teachings of the Church on the Family from the Second Vatican Council till date. Given its concision and clarity, we present the text almost entirely.
The Teaching of the Second Vatican Council
The Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, devotes an entire chapter to the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. GS, 47-52) and defines marriage and the family in the following manner: “The intimate partnership of married life and love has been established by the Creator and qualified by His laws, and is rooted in the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent. Hence by that human act whereby spouses mutually bestow and accept each other a relationship arises which by divine will and in the eyes of society too is a lasting one.”(GS, 48). The “true love between husband and wife” (GS, 49) involves a mutual gift of self, which is to include and integrate the sexual dimension and affectivity according to the divine plan (cf. GS, 48-49). This clearly shows that marriage and the conjugal love that gives it life, “are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children” (GS, 50). Furthermore, the grounding of the couple in Christ is emphasized: Christ the Lord “comes into the lives of married Christians through the Sacrament of Matrimony” (GS, 48) and remains with them (sacramentum permanens). He assumes human love, purifies it, brings it to fulfilment and gives the married couple, with his Spirit, the ability to live it by permeating every aspect of their life of faith, hope and charity. In this way, the couple, like consecrated persons through a grace proper to them, builds up the Body of Christ and is a domestic Church (cf. LG, 11), so that the Church, through fully understanding her mystery, looks to the Christian family, which manifests that mystery in an authentic way. (42)
The teaching of the Council has since been further developed and clarified by the Popes.
Blessed Pope Paul VI greatly developed the doctrine on marriage and the family. In a particular way, with the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, he highlighted the intrinsic link between conjugal love and the generation of life: “Married love, therefore, requires of husband and wife the full awareness of their obligations in the matter of responsible parenthood, which today, rightly enough, is much insisted upon, but which at the same time should be rightly understood. [...] the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society” (HV, 10). Later, in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Paul VI highlighted the relationship between the family and the Church: “One cannot fail to stress the evangelizing action of the family in the evangelizing apostolate of the laity. At different moments in the Church's history and also in the Second Vatican Council, the family has well deserved the beautiful name of ‘domestic Church.’ This means that there should be found in every Christian family the various aspects of the entire Church. Furthermore, the family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates” (EN, 71); (43).
Pope Saint John Paul II devoted special attention to the family in his catechesis on human love and the theology of the body. In them, he has given the Church a wealth of reflections on the nuptial meaning of the human body and God’s plan for marriage and the family from the beginning of creation. In particular, by treating conjugal love, he described how spouses, in their mutual love, receive the gift of the Spirit of Christ and live their call to holiness. In the Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane and particularly in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II pointed to the family as the “way of the Church.” He also offered a general vision of man and woman’s vocation to love and proposed basic guidelines for the pastoral care of the family and the presence of the family in society. “In matrimony and in the family a complex of interpersonal relationships is set up — married life, fatherhood and motherhood, filiation and fraternity — through which each human person is introduced into the ‘human family’ and into the ‘family of God,’ which is the Church” (FC, 15); (44).
Benedict XVI, in his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, returned to the topic of the truth of the love between man and woman, that is fully illuminated only in light of the love of the Crucified Christ (cf. DCE, 2). He stresses that “marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God's way of loving becomes the measure of human love” (DCE, 11). In the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, he highlights the importance of family love as a principle of life in society, a place where we learn the experience of the common good. “It is thus becoming a social and even economic necessity once more to hold up to future generations the beauty of marriage and the family, and the fact that these institutions correspond to the deepest needs and dignity of the person. In view of this, States are called to enact policies promoting the centrality and the integrity of the family, founded on marriage between a man and a woman, the primary vital cell of society, and to assume responsibility for its economic and fiscal needs, while respecting its essentially relational character” (CiV, 44); (45).
Pope Francis, in the encyclical Lumen Fidei, treats the connection between the family and faith: “The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage [...] Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings” (LF, 52). In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the Pope recalls the centrality of the family among the cultural challenges of today: “The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensable contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple” (EG, 66). Pope Francis, in further treating issues relating to the family, has dedicated an organic cycle of catechesis which thoroughly examines the various persons in the family, their different experiences and the stages of life; (46). To crown it all, the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetizia on love in the family. The opening words say a lot: “The Joy of Love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church.” (AL 1).
In these few lines, the Conclusions of the Synod of October 2015 offer us the teachings of the highest authority of the Church on marriage and the family since the Second Vatican Council till date.
Questions for discussion
1. In the light of the OFS Rule and General Constitutions, in you Fraternity, comment on the following affirmation taken form LG 11: “the couple, like consecrated persons through a grace proper to them, builds up the Body of Christ and is a domestic Church.”
2. Blessed Pope Paul VI who gave the OFS its new Rule also wrote: “One cannot fail to stress the evangelizing action of the family in the evangelizing apostolate of the laity” (EN,71). Discuss in your fraternity on the possible contributions which the families of OFS members has offered or could offer for the apostolate of evangelization in your own context. Take concrete actions.
We finish our encounter praying together: the prayer of the Holy Family.
Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis
FAMILY COMMISSION Silvia Diana - OFS
CONCLUSIONS OF THE SYNOD OF THE FAMILY
PART II - Chapter 1
The Family in God’s Plan, the Family in Salvation History
We continue with the reflections on the conclusions of the Synod of the Family and the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) and we see how the family is and always was part of God's plan.
Jesus, who reconciled all things in himself, restored marriage and the family to their original form (cf. Mt 10:1-12). Marriage and the family have been redeemed by Christ (cf. Eph 5:21-32) and restored in the image of the Holy Trinity, the mystery from which all true love flows. The spousal covenant, originating in creation and revealed in the history of salvation, takes on its full meaning in Christ and his Church. Through his Church, Christ bestows on marriage and the family the grace necessary to bear witness to the love of God and to live the life of communion. "The Gospel of the family spans the history of the world, from the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26-27), to the fulfilment of the mystery of the covenant in Christ at the end of time with the marriage of the Lamb (cf. Rev 19:9)”.(AL 63)
The family is a school of love and a stable family is the building block of society that allows persons to flourish as human beings.
Willed by God in the very act of creation, marriage and the family are interiorly ordained to fulfillment in Christ and have need of His graces in order to be healed from the wounds of sin and restored to their "beginning", that is, to full understanding and the full realization of God's plan. (FC 3)
The Synod Fathers noted that Jesus, “in speaking of God’s original plan for man and woman, reaffirmed the indissoluble union between them, even stating that ‘it was for your hardness of heart that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so’ (Mt 19:8). The indissolubility of marriage – ‘what God has joined together, let no man put asunder’ (Mt 19:6) – should not be viewed as a ‘yoke’ imposed on humanity, but as a ‘gift’ granted to those who are joined in marriage… God’s indulgent love always accompanies our human journey; through grace, it heals and transforms hardened hearts, leading them back to the beginning through the way of the cross. The Gospels clearly present the example of Jesus who… proclaimed the meaning of marriage as the fullness of revelation that restores God’s original plan (cf. Mt 19:3)”.(AL62)
[...]The wedding takes place in the community of life and love and the family participates in the work of evangelization. The bride and groom, thus becoming Christ’s disciples, are accompanied by him on the way to Emmaus; they recognize him in the breaking of bread; and they return to Jerusalem enlightened by his resurrection (cf. Lk 24:13-43) (n 36).
Because of the divine pedagogy, according to which the plan of creation is fulfilled through successive stages in the order of redemption, we need to understand the Sacrament of Matrimony as it was in the beginning, based on the order of creation. From this perspective, we understand the salvific action of God, even in the Christian life. Because everything was done through Christ and for him (cf. Col 1:16). The incorporation of the believer into the Church through Baptism is completed in the other Sacraments of Christian Initiation. In the domestic Church, which is his family, the believer starts that “dynamic process, one which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God” (FC, 9), by an ongoing conversion to the love that saves us from sin and gives fullness of life. (n 37)
The Icon of the Trinity in the Family
Scripture and Tradition give us access to a knowledge of the Trinity which is revealed in the features of a family. The family is the image of God who “in his deepest mystery is not all by himself, but a family, since he has in himself fatherhood, sonship and the essence of the family, which is love” (John Paul II, Homily at Parafox Major Seminary, Puebla de Los Angeles (Mexico), 28 January 1979). God is a communion of persons. At Christ’s Baptism, the voice of the Father called Jesus his beloved Son, and, in this love, we come to recognize the Holy Spirit (cf. Mk 1:10-11). Jesus, who has reconciled all things in himself and has redeemed us from sin, not only returned marriage and the family to their original form, but has also raised marriage to the sacramental sign of his love for the Church (cf. Mt 19:1-12; Mk 10:1-12; Eph 5:21-32). In the human family, gathered by Christ, the “image and likeness” of the Holy Trinity (cf. Gen 1:26) is now visible, a mystery from which flows all true love. Through the Church, marriage and the family receive the grace of the Holy Spirit from Christ so as to bear witness to the Gospel of God's love until the fulfilment of the Covenant on the Last Day, at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (cf. Rev 19:9; John Paul II, Catechesis on Human Love). The covenant of love and fidelity, lived by the Holy Family of Nazareth, illuminates the principle which gives form to every household, and enables it better to face the vicissitudes of life and history. On this basis, every family, despite its weaknesses, can become a light in the darkness of the world. “Here each of us understands the meaning of family life, its harmony of love, its simplicity and austere beauty, its sacred and inviolable character; may it teach us how sweet and irreplaceable is its training, how fundamental and incomparable its role in the social order” (Paul VI, Discourse at Nazareth, 5 January 1964). (n 38)
The Family in Sacred Scripture - Through the fruitfulness of their love, man and woman continue the work of creation and collaborate with the Creator in salvation history through successive geneologies (Gen 1:28; 2: 4; 9:1,7; 10; 17:2,16; 25:11; 28:3; 35:9,11; 47:27; 48:3,4). The reality of marriage in its exemplary form is outlined in the book of Genesis, to which Jesus also refers in his idea of married love. Man feels incomplete, because he lacks “a helper fit for him”, who “stands before him” (Gen 2:18-20) in an equal dialogue. The woman participates, therefore, in the same reality of the man, represented symbolically by the rib, or by the same flesh, as proclaimed in the song of the man’s love: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23). They thus become “one flesh” (Gen 2:24). This foundational reality of the marital experience is exalted in the expression of one belonging to the other in the profession of love, pronounced by the woman in the Song of Songs. The formula is similar to that of the covenant between God and his People (cf. Lev 26:12): “My beloved is mine and I am his,... I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine” (Cant 2:16; 6:3). (n 39)
The words of eternal life, given by Jesus to his disciples, include his teaching on marriage and the family. In them, we can recognize three basic stages in God's plan. Firstly, there is the family of origin, when God, the Creator, instituted the primordial marriage between Adam and Eve, as the solid foundation of the family..... Subsequently, in its historical form in the tradition of Israel, this union, wounded by sin, underwent several variations: ..... Lastly, the reconciliation of the world took place with the coming of the Saviour, not only restoring the original divine plan but leading the history of God's People to a new fulfilment. Above all, the indissolubility of marriage (Mk 10:2-9) is not meant to be a burden but a gift to those who are united in marriage. (n 40)
“The example of Jesus is a paradigm for the Church… He began his public ministry with the miracle at the wedding feast of Cana (cf. Jn 2:1-11). He shared in everyday moments of friendship with the family of Lazarus and his sisters (cf. Lk 10:38) and with the family of Peter (cf. Mk 8:14). He sympathized with grieving parents and restored their children to life (cf. Mk 5:41; Lk 7:14-15). In this way he demonstrated the true meaning of mercy, which entails the restoration of the covenant (cf. John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, 4). This is clear from his conversations with the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 1:4-30) and with the woman found in adultery (cf. Jn 8:1-11), where the consciousness of sin is awakened by an encounter with Jesus’ gratuitous love”. (AL 64)
The incarnation of the Word in a human family, in Nazareth, by its very newness changed the history of the world. We need to enter into the mystery of Jesus’ birth, into that “yes” given by Mary to the message of the angel, when the Word was conceived in her womb, as well as the “yes” of Joseph, who gave a name to Jesus and watched over Mary. We need to contemplate the joy of the shepherds before the manger, the adoration of the Magi and the flight into Egypt, in which Jesus shares his people’s experience of exile, persecution and humiliation. We need to contemplate the religious expectation of Zechariah and his joy at the birth of John the Baptist, the fulfilment of the promise made known to Simeon and Anna in the Temple and the marvel of the teachers of the Law who listened to the wisdom of the child Jesus. We then need to peer into those thirty long years when Jesus earned his keep by the work of his hands, reciting the traditional prayers and expressions of his people’s faith and coming to know that ancestral faith until he made it bear fruit in the mystery of the Kingdom. This is the mystery of Christmas and the secret of Nazareth, exuding the beauty of family life! (AL 65)
Jesus and the Family “The covenant of love and fidelity lived by the Holy Family of Nazareth illuminates the principle which gives shape to every family, and enables it better to face the vicissitudes of life and history. On this basis, every family, despite its weaknesses, can become a light in the darkness of the world. ‘Nazareth teaches us the meaning of family life, its loving communion, its simple and austere beauty, its sacred and inviolable character. May it teach how sweet and irreplaceable is its training, how fundamental and incomparable its role in the social order’ (Paul VI, Address in Nazareth, 5 January 1964)”.(AL 66)
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
1. How do you understand the role of marriage and the family in salvation history?
2. How do you see families being the icon of the Trinity?
3. Discuss "Motherhood" and "Fatherhood".
4. How can we offer to the world the meaning and values of marriage and the family?
We finish our encounter praying together: THE PRAYER OF THE HOLY FAMILY.
Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis
FAMILY COMMISSION Silvia Diana - OFS
CONCLUSIONS OF SYNOD ON THE FAMILY, OCTOBER 2015
Chapter III presents “Family, Inclusion and Society” and its many important themes so that we can share and reflect on them together. We suggest that you read this chapter completely. We will reflect on some points but we propose that each fraternity try to animate itself and to deepen your knowledge according to your local reality.
Let us share (discuss) in fraternity the following questions:
1. What is the reality of our grandparents, persons with special needs, (and) single persons in our families and our surroundings?
2. Migrants, refugees, and the persecuted live in our cities. What is their situation?
3. Women – what are the difficult situations that women face today?
4. Are our children and youth happy? Are their rights respected in our society?
We will form ourselves in light of the documents
Our grandparents are very important in the restructuring of family values:
One of the most serious and urgent tasks of the Christian family is to preserve the link between generations to ensure the transmission of the faith and the basic values of life… Grandparents in a family deserve special attention. They are the link between generations, and ensure a psycho-affective balance through the transmission of traditions and customs, values and virtues, where younger persons can recognize their roots [...] (N°17/18.)
Pope Francis, in his exhortation, Amoris Laetitia says: “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent” (Ps 71:9). This is the plea of the elderly, who fear being forgotten and rejected. Just as God asks us to be his means of hearing the cry of the poor, so too he wants us to hear the cry of the elderly. This represents a challenge to families and communities, since “the Church cannot and does not want to conform to a mentality of impatience, and much less of indifference and contempt, towards old age. We must reawaken the collective sense of gratitude, of appreciation, of hospitality, which makes the elderly feel like a living part of the community. Our elderly are men and women, fathers and mothers, who came before us on our own road, in our own house, in our daily battle for a worthy life”. Indeed, “how I would like a Church that challenges the throw-away culture by
the overflowing joy of a new embrace between young and old!” [...] ( AL191). The lack of historical memory is a serious shortcoming in our society. A mentality that can only say, “Then was then, now is now”, is ultimately immature. Knowing and judging past events is the only way to build a meaningful future. Memory is necessary for growth: “Recall the former days” (Heb 10:32). Listening to the elderly tell their stories is good for children and young people; it makes them feel connected to the living history of their families, their neighborhoods and their country. [...] (AL 193)
Persons with Special Needs
So much love is reflected in families that give value to life…
[...] Families which lovingly accept the difficult trial of a child with special needs are to be greatly admired. They render to the Church and society an invaluable witness of their faithfulness to the gift of life[...] If the family, in the light of the faith, accepts the presence of people with special needs, they will be able to recognize and guarantee the quality and value of every human life, with its proper needs, rights and opportunities. This approach will encourage care and services on behalf of these disadvantaged persons and will encourage people to draw near to them and provide affection at every stage of their life. (N° 21) (AL 47)
Persons Who Are Unmarried
In our fraternities there are many brothers and sisters who have chosen this state in life…
Many people who are unmarried in life are not only devoted to their own family but often render great service in their group of friends, in the Church community and in their professional lives. Sometimes, their presence and contributions are overlooked, however, causing in them a sense of isolation. More often than not, many exhibit noble motives in their full engagement in art, science and the good of humanity. Many put their talents at the service of the Christian community in the name of charity and volunteer work. Others remain unmarried, because they have consecrated their lives for love of Christ and neighbor. Their dedication greatly enriches the family, the Church and society. (N° 22)
Migrants, Refugees and Those Suffering Persecution
A reality that challenges us today is welcoming these brothers and sisters and working with them…
We are all pilgrims: Special pastoral attention needs to be given to the effects of migration on the family. In various ways, migration has its effects on entire populations in different parts of the world. The Church has exercised a major role in this area. Maintaining and developing this witness to the Gospel (cf. Mt 25:35) is more urgently needed today than ever. The truth of the history of humanity and the history of migrants is inscribed in the life of families and entire peoples. Even our faith makes this clear: we are all pilgrims…In accompanying migrants, the Church needs a specific pastoral program addressed to not only families in migration but also members of the families who remain behind. This pastoral activity must be implemented with due respect for their cultures, for the human and religious formation from which they come and for the spiritual richness of their rites and traditions, even by means of a specific pastoral care. “It is important to view migrants not only on the basis of their status as regular or irregular, but above all as people whose dignity is to be
protected and who are capable of contributing to progress and the general welfare. This is especially the case when they responsibly assume their obligations towards those who receive them, gratefully respecting the material and spiritual heritage of the host country, obeying its laws and helping with its needs” (Francis, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2016, 12 September 2015). (N ° 23).
Jesus said: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
Children are a blessing from God (Gen 4:1); they ought to be of primary concern in the family and society and are a priority in the Church’s pastoral activity. “In fact, society can be judged from the way children are treated, not only morally but also sociologically, whether it is a liberal society or a society enslaved by international interests. [...] Children remind us [...] that all are sons and daughters. [...] And this always brings us back to the fact that we did not give ourselves life but that we have received it.” (Francis, General Audience, 18 March 2015) [...] (N°26)
“Families cannot help but be places of support, guidance and direction, however much they may have to rethink their methods and discover new resources. Parents need to consider what they want their children to be exposed to, and this necessarily means being concerned about who is providing their entertainment, who is entering their rooms through television and electronic devices, and with whom they are spending their free time. Only if we devote time to our children, speaking of important things with simplicity and concern, and finding healthy ways for them to spend their time, will we be able to shield them from harm. Vigilance is always necessary and neglect is never beneficial. Parents have to help prepare children and adolescents to confront the risk, for example, of aggression, abuse or drug addiction”. ( AL 260)
Childhood, today, must be a priority for the church, for the family and for state institutions – because of the possibilities (children) offer, as well as the vulnerability to which (they) are exposed. Children are a gift and a sign of God’s presence in the world because of their ability to accept the Gospel message simply. Jesus chose them with special tenderness (Cf. Mt. 19:14), and presented their capacity to accept the Gospel as a model to enter the Kingdom of God (Cf. Mark 10:14; Mathew 18:3). We painfully see the situation of the poor, of family violence (above all in irregular or broken families), of sexual abuse; we see what a large number of our children are going through -- working children, homeless children, children with HIV, orphans, soldier children, boys and girls who are misled and exposed to pornography and forced prostitution – as much virtual as actual. Above all, early childhood (0-6 years old) requires special attention and care. We cannot remain indifferent in view of the suffering of so many innocent children. (Aparecida Document, the Latin American Bishops 438/439)
“But Mary kept all these things pondering on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).
Women have a crucial role in the life of the individual, family and society. “Every human person owes his or her life to a mother, and almost always owes much of what follows in life, both human and spiritual formation, to her.” (Francis, General Audience, 7 January 2015) [...] Truly, however, the status of women in the world varies considerably, primarily because of socio-cultural factors. The dignity of women needs to be defended and promoted [...]In many places, discrimination results simply because one is a woman: the gift of motherhood is penalized rather than valued. [...]A contributing factor in the social recognition of the role of women is a greater appreciation of their responsibilities in the Church: their involvement in decision-making, their participation in the administration of some institutions and their involvement in the formation of ordained ministers.(N ° 27)
Man plays an equally decisive role in family life, particularly in reference to the protection and support of his wife and children. A model for a man in a family is St. Joseph, the just man, who in the hour of danger, “took the child and his mother by night” (Mt 2:14) and brought them to safety. Many men are aware of the importance of their role in the family and live according to their masculine role. The absence of a father gravely affects family life and the upbringing of children and their integration into society. This absence, which may be physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual, deprives children of an appropriate model of paternal behavior. [...] (N ° 27)
Many young people continue to see marriage as the great desire of their life and the idea of forming their own family as a fulfilment of their aspirations. Nevertheless, young people, in practice, have varying attitudes with regard to marriage. [...] In their plans of love, young people who are baptized are to be encouraged to have no doubts in viewing the riches available in the Sacrament of Matrimony, to be aware of the strong support they can receive from the grace of Christ and to seize the opportunity of participating fully in the life of the Church. The reasons for the young renouncing marriage and their discouragement in marrying need to be more carefully discerned. Young people can gain greater confidence in the choice of marriage thanks to those families who, in the Christian community, provide a trustworthy example of enduring witness over time. (N ° 29)
*In view of these challenges, ¿what actions should we take and what commitments should we make?
*Considering especially the older brothers and sisters of our fraternities, what should we do to accompany them at this stage in their lives?
Prayer to the Holy Family
Jesus, Mary and Joseph
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love, to you, confidently we come.
Holy Family of Nazareth, make our families also
the Cenacle place of communion and prayer,
genuine schools of the Gospel and small domestic churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
let there never be families episodes of violence,
of isolation and division;
that anyone who has been hurt or offended may soon be comforted and healed.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
make aware to all the sacred and inviolable character of the family,
of its beauty in God's plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, hear and receive our prayer.
Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis
FAMILY COMMISSION Silvia Diana - OFS
Translation: Mary Stronach OFS
CONCLUSIONS OF THE SYNOD ON THE FAMILY OCTOBER 2015
Chapter IV presents Family, affection (emotions) and life. We continue to integrate the richness of the Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Lætitia (AL) and sharing our local realities, and reflecting on the beautiful treasure that is the family. We propose questions that help us to share, and we propose reading some points of the documents that we quote in the text.
Share in fraternity:
1. The Importance of a Life of Affection (Emotions)
1- How is the dialogue in our marriage and family life?
2- What are our strengths and what are our weaknesses?
3- What aspects are necessary or conducive -- to live, express and communicate better --with the purpose of making the mutual love of spouses more mature?
30. […] The Church’s challenge is to assist couples in the maturation of the emotional aspect of their relationship and in their emotional development through fostering dialogue, the life of virtue and trust in the merciful love of God. The commitment to full dedication required in Christian marriage is a strong antidote to the temptation of a person’s living an existence exclusively turned inwardly upon himself.
Dialogue is essential for experiencing, expressing and fostering love in marriage and family life. […] ( AL 136 )
Take time, quality time. This means being ready to listen patiently and attentively to everything the other person wants to say. . […] ( AL 137 ) .
[…] Love surmounts even the worst barriers. […] ( AL 140 )
2. Formation in Self-Giving
QUESTIONS: as parents:
1- Do we responsibly assume, as a challenging and exciting mission entrusted by God, the education of our children to help them grow as humans, emotionally, morally and spiritually?
31. The dynamic of family relations has a primary impact on the formation of younger generations. The speed of changes occurring in present-day society makes the work of accompanying a person’s emotional formation in sound growth and development more difficult. This process requires appropriate pastoral action which is abundantly equipped with a knowledge imbued with Scripture and Catholic doctrine and provided with suitable educational tools. A proper knowledge of the psychology of the family will serve as an assistance in ensuring that the Christian vision might be effectively transmitted. Such an effort might already begin with the catechesis of Christian Initiation. This formation is also meant to highlight the admirable character of the virtue of chastity, since the virtue of chastity is understood to mean the integration of emotions which fosters self-giving.
It should also take place inductively, so that children can learn for themselves the importance of certain values, principles and norms, rather than b y imposing these as absolute and unquestionable truths. […] ( AL 264 )
3. Weakness and Immaturity
As parents or concerned adults according to the "family" situation:
1- Do we assume the resposibility, as a mission entrusted by God, to help them mature humanly, emotionally, morally and spiritually in the fragility of its (the family’s) development and growth?
2- What aspects of contemporary culture today and the lifestyle of adolescents and young people hinder Christian education for love?
3- What could we do as adults to educate and help the younger generation to mature in their sexuality?
32. Many cultural tendencies exist in today's world whose goal is to impose a sexuality without any limits and where all emotional aspects are explored, even the more complex ones. The idea of emotional weakness is very timely; a narcissistic, unstable and changing affectivity does not help a person to achieve greater maturity. The following cultural tendencies need to be firmly denounced: the prevalence of pornography and the commercialization of the body which is promoted by a distorted use of the internet, forced prostitution and exploitation. […]
The Second Vatican Council spoke of the need for “a positive and pruden t sex education” to be imparted to children and adolescents “as they grow older”, wit h “due weight being given to advances in the psychological, pedogogical and didactic sciences […] ( AL 280)
4. Technologies in Human Procreation
1- Is parenthood a gift of God or a human right?
2- To what extent are the new technologies, that allow procreation and fertility beyond the natural limits, a right of parenthood or are they a gift from God?
3- Is being a parent, at any cost and without any limit, only because science permits it, for me today?
4- The position of Bishops is that "everything that is scientifically possible is not scientifically permitted." What is your opinion?
33. The technological revolution in the field of human procreation has introduced the ability to manipulate the reproductive act, making it independent of the sexual relationship between a man and a woman. In this way, human life and parenthood have become a modular and separable reality, subject mainly to the wishes of individuals or couples, who are not necessarily heterosexual and properly married. This phenomenon has occurred recently as an absolute novelty on the stage of humanity and is increasingly becoming more common. This situation has profound implications in the dynamics of relationships, in the structuring of social life and in legal systems which intervene to attempt to regulate practices already in place and various situations. In this regard, the Church feels required to speak a word of truth and hope…[…]
The family is the setting in which a new life is not only born but also welcomed as a gift of God. […] (AL166)
5. A Pastoral Challenge
1- Without diminishing the Christian ideal of marriage and family, what gestures of mercy and pastoral closeness have we had as a Church and personally to the new realities of family?
2- What (gestures) should we be offering?
34. […]In formation for conjugal and family life, pastoral care is to take into account the diversity of real-life situations. If, on the one hand, we must promote pathways to ensure the formation of young people for marriage; on the other, we must
accompany those who live alone or, without forming a new family, who frequently remain connected to their family of origin. Even couples who cannot have children should be given special pastoral attention by the Church to help them discover God’s plan in their situation which is in service to the whole community. Everyone needs to be understood, bearing in mind that situations far from the life of the Church are not always desired; oftentimes, they are created, and, at times, simply endured. From the vantage point of faith, no one is excluded: all are loved by God and are important in the Church’s pastoral activity..
In a word, we are called to show mercy because mercy was first shown to us [ …] (AL 310).
[…] . Instead, it sets us in the con text of a pastoral discernment filled with merciful love, which is ever ready to understand, forgive, accompany, hope, and above all integrate (AL312).
INTEGRATION QUESTIONS ON THE TOPIC:
1- The family is the birthright of humanity, a sanctuary of life, a treasure -- which aspects have we experienced and witnessed that these are true statements about the family reality, both rich and simple at the same time?
2- Lists words -- such as for example: to integrate, to involve, to accept, to accompany etc. (Offer, hope, time, patience,) What other words would be helpful for some of the situations described above, considering that the Church seeks to find ways to become more inclusive?
3- How does our charism help (us) to learn and mature in the "pedagogy of love that is marriage and family?”
We finish our encounter praying together: THE PRAYER OF THE HOLY FAMILY.
Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis
FAMILY COMMISSION Fr. Francis Dor OFMCap.
CONCLUSIONS OF SYNOD ON THE FAMILY, OCTOBER 2015
PART 2 -Chapter II
The Family in the Socio-Economic context
Last April 8th, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris lætitia (AL) of the holy Father Pope Francis on love in the family, based on the conclusions of the last Synod, was published1. The importance of the family for the Society as a whole and for the Church in particular can never be over-emphasized. In fact, “The family is “the vital cell of society”. For that reason, “The welfare of the family is decisive for the future of the world and that of the Church” (AL 31). Chapter two of the Conclusions of the Synod (n° 11- n° 16), presents a global view of the socio-economic context of the family today.