Amoris Laetitia 19: A Path of Suffering and Blood

amoris laetitia memeRemember that Amoris Laetitia is online in pdf format here. With this post, we look at the start of a section titled “A path of suffering and blood,” paragraphs 19 through 22. Human beings are imperfect. Marriages and families will suffer:

19. The idyllic picture presented in Psalm 128 is not at odds with a bitter truth found throughout sacred Scripture, that is, the presence of pain, evil and violence that break up families and their communion of life and love. For good reason Christ’s teaching on marriage (cf. Mt 19:3-9) is inserted within a dispute about divorce. The word of God constantly testifies to that somber dimension already present at the beginning, when, through sin, the relationship of love and purity between man and woman turns into domination: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16).

What is the purpose, then, of the preaching of the ideals of Psalm 128? Pope Francis suggests it is meant for encouragement, not to set an impossibly high bar. What do you think?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to Amoris Laetitia 19: A Path of Suffering and Blood

  1. Liam says:

    It might help also to consider the traditional perspective of Eastern Christianity about marriage: what a monastery is for monks, a family is for spouses – that is, family is the arena for ascetic struggle for theosis.

  2. Todd says:

    A thought from another universe for people who view marriage/true love (from the outside looking in, perhaps) as a happily-ever-after kind of thing. I was probably of that universe when I was in my 20s. The reality is that many spouses endure many trials: illnesses, loss of job, troubles with children, and their own inevitable sinfulness. It is difficult to preach these realities to the young and starry-eyed. I suspect if ministers were able to inject a bit of reality earlier, then expectations would change when the challenges begin to close in.

    • Liam says:

      My parents were married for 66 years (and a couple for 72 years – they were of the group of WW2-era couples that deferred marriage until after the war, rather than getting married quickly to beget children before death or disability prevented such (that was part of the calculus behind marrying fast in those days, most people today have no idea)). They shared values and intelligence and children, but had very different emotional and communication languages. They wanted 8 chlidren and settled for 6 (the last being born the day after the 1st graduated high school) when #3 revealed special needs in media res. (So, no empty nest until their late 60s.) As a child and young adult, there were times I was mystified by their marriage. That said, they had a mutual practice of making sacrifices for each other even though they didn’t “have to”, as it were. Decades of that practice laid the foundation for the marathon that was late life for my mother (not Alzheimer’s disease or the like; but a veritable cluster of things instead).

      For reasons I won’t go into here, I detached from our popular culture narratives about romantic love early in life, and learned to see how much unhelpful baggage it is. My bottom line: the movies in your head about project how your life may unfold are downright unhelpful, and reality is more rewarding (and painful) than your fantasies – IF you are far more open to reality than to your fantasies.

    • Liam says:

      And, this morning, Arts & Letter Daily brought my attention to this pertinent essay (pertinent to my point about movies and fantasies):

    • Liam says:

      And, PPS, courtesy of Mallory Ortberg aka Prudence at Slate, see the first question here:

      A relationship where the “deal” (conscious or otherwise) is that I-make-no-demand-that-you-sacrifice-for-me-if-You-make-no-demand-that-I-sacrifice-for-you is the antithesis of a real, mutually self-sacrificing marriage.(Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale even partly treads in this territory.) There will be a time that sacrifice is called for that will not even seem reasonable, but it will be loving. (The Cross was not “reasonable”. Love is not “reasonable”.) That doesn’t mean it’s a toggle to automatically accepting and enabling abuse under the rubric of sacrifice. But it does require spiritual and psychological maturation to grapple with the terrain. (This terrain also exists in relationships outside of marriage.)

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