Amoris Laetitia 200: Proclaiming The Gospel Of The Family Today

amoris laetitia memeSections 200 through 204 deal with the first of the Holy Father’s five pastoral topics. Another instance of that lovely and positive term, domestic church:

200. The Synod Fathers emphasized that Christian families, by the grace of the sacrament of matrimony, are the principal agents of the family apostolate, above all through “their joy-filled witness as domestic churches”.(Relatio Synodi 2014, 30)

It can be difficult to discern joy or the cause for joy in many family situations today. The emphasis isn’t misplaced. Pope Francis preaches it, and he means it:

Consequently, “it is important that people experience the Gospel of the family as a joy that ‘fills hearts and lives’, because in Christ we have been ‘set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 1).

For families in trouble, there’s the 12 Step motto, “Fake it till you make it.” At the risk of glossing over the serious problems of many families, I think the loss of joy erodes into a loss of hope and an expectation that bad things will continue to plague us.

As in the parable of the sower (cf. Mt 13:3-9), we are called to help sow seeds; the rest is God’s work. Nor must we forget that, in her teaching on the family, the Church is a sign of contradiction”.(Ibid., 31)

The synod bishops are also cited:

Married couples are grateful that their pastors uphold the high ideal of a love that is strong, solid, enduring and capable of sustaining them through whatever trials they may have to face. The Church wishes, with humility and compassion, to reach out to families and “to help each family to discover the best way to overcome any obstacles it encounters”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 56) It is not enough to show generic concern for the family in pastoral planning. Enabling families to take up their role as active agents of the family apostolate calls for “an effort at evangelization and catechesis inside the family”.(Ibid., 89)

It is vital that pastors and ministers come to the service of specific families they serve with ready assistance. Such assistance is not always sought or even expected. But we have a tradition of prayer, reliance on God, and effective charity when we draw from it. Why wouldn’t the Church take the lead on resources that assist in various human disciplines like communication, sex, finances, employment, children, and above all, spiritual formation as disciples–not just occasional believers.

For your reference Amoris Laetitia is online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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