76. “The Gospel of the family also nourishes seeds that are still waiting to grow, and serves as the basis for caring for those plants that are wilting and must not be neglected.” (Relatio Synodi 2014, 23)
And Pope John Paul II:
Thus, building on the gift of Christ in the sacrament, married couples “may be led patiently further on in order to achieve a deeper grasp and a fuller integration of this mystery in their lives”.(Familiaris Consortio 9)
Marriages and families are works in progress. Even among the best of us. The Holy Father cites the final synod document, which in turn leaned on Vatican II:
77. Appealing to the Bible’s teaching that all was created through Christ and for Christ (cf. Col 1:16), the Synod Fathers noted that “the order of redemption illuminates and fulfils that of creation. Natural marriage, therefore, is fully understood in the light of its fulfillment in the sacrament of Matrimony: only in contemplating Christ does a person come to know the deepest truth about human relationships. ‘Only in the mystery of the Incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light… Christ, the new Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and his love, fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear’ (Gaudium et Spes, 22). It is particularly helpful to understand in a Christocentric key… the good of the spouses (bonum coniugum)”,(Relatio Finalis 2015, 47) which includes unity, openness to life, fidelity, indissolubility and, within Christian marriage, mutual support on the path towards complete friendship with the Lord. “Discernment of the presence of ‘seeds of the Word’ in other cultures (cf. Ad Gentes 11) can also apply to the reality of marriage and the family. In addition to true natural marriage, positive elements exist in the forms of marriage found in other religious traditions”,(Relatio Finalis 2015, 47) even if, at times, obscurely.
Lots of theology. Pope Francis and the bishops suggest that marriage has a fulfilled aspect in the grace of Christ. So there is something beyond just marital fertility and the generation of children. Our “supreme calling” is union with Christ and a participation in his mission. Maybe we can start asking how marriages further the mission of the Gospel (cf Matthew 28:19-20).
Pope Francis from Philly last year:
We can readily say that “anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil – a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work – will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation. Whatever the people, religion or region to which they belong!”*
*Homily for the Concluding Mass of the Eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (27 September 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 28-29 September 2015, p. 7.
One good gesture is something to get excited about, surely.
For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.