Chapter Three is titled “Looking to Jesus: The Vocation of the Family.” If we keep at one paragraph a day, we’ll be finished in a month’s time with this look at sections 58 through 88. Today two tell the story a bit more fully, so let’s do that. Pope Francis begins with a few citations from Evangelii Gaudium:
58. In and among families, the Gospel message should always resound; the core of that message, the kerygma, is what is “most beautiful, most excellent, most appealing and at the same time most necessary”.(Evangelii Gaudium 35) This message “has to occupy the center of all evangelizing activity”. (Evangelii Gaudium 164) It is the first and most important proclamation, “which we must hear again and again in different ways, and which we must always announce in one form or another”.(Ibid.) Indeed, “nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaningful and wise than that message”. In effect, “all Christian formation consists of entering more deeply into the kerygma”. (Evangelii Gaudium 165)
A good reminder for the primacy of the proclamation of Christ as the center of Christian activity. What is the connection to marriage and family? Let’s not wait till tomorrow to read something authentically Pope Francis:
59. Our teaching on marriage and the family cannot fail to be inspired and transformed by this message of love and tenderness; otherwise, it becomes nothing more than the defence of a dry and lifeless doctrine. The mystery of the Christian family can be fully understood only in the light of the Father’s infinite love revealed in Christ, who gave himself up for our sake and who continues to dwell in our midst. I now wish to turn my gaze to the living Christ, who is at the heart of so many love stories, and to invoke the fire of the Spirit upon all the world’s families.
Has the post-conciliar presentation on marriage and family really been in part dry and lifeless? We know that certain elements have been neglected or dismissed by couples and clergy alike. It would be easy enough to check marriage prep materials and wedding homilies. Do they touch upon the mysteries of the Trinity and the Paschal Mystery? Do they reverence the presence of Christ? How often is the Holy Spirit petitioned to bless a marriage and family?
For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.