As always, I recommend going to the source here: Amoris Laetitia. The Jubilee we observe these days is the context for this document:
5. This Exhortation is especially timely in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. First, because it represents an invitation to Christian families to value the gifts of marriage and the family, and to persevere in a love strengthened by the virtues of generosity, commitment, fidelity and patience. Second, because it seeks to encourage everyone to be a sign of mercy and closeness wherever family life remains imperfect or lacks peace and joy.
A small paragraph, but a good one. Consider those four virtues mentioned for the strengthening of the family. If I were leading a group discussion in my parish, I would ask the participants to ponder the ways they are generous, committed, faithful, and patient. Which is the strongest quality in your family? Which needs the most work? Reflecting on the positive question is important, as family members first need to see where their inherent strengths lie.
In Marriage Encounter, my wife and I learned how to dialogue in their system. Partners separate to write a response to a reflection question. They then come back together, exchange notes, read, and reflect from there. It would be interesting for a couple to see where their strongest virtue is and the one that needs the most work. How many couples would agree? Even if in disagreement, it would be a movement of drawing closer.
We might be getting ahead of ourselves talking about marriage prep, but engaged couples also can utilize a reflection on these four virtues as they explore their mutual love. The application for the pastoral minister would be to explore the Scriptures, especially the ones that could be selected for the Rite of Marriage. Making connections like this is vital for the spiritual formation of the Church: people, Scripture, virtues–they all interconnect, and invite us to go deeper.
Other thoughts on these virtues, or anything else we’ve read so far?