234. Crises need to be faced together. This is hard, since persons sometimes withdraw in order to avoid saying what they feel; they retreat into a craven silence. At these times, it becomes all the more important to create opportunities for speaking heart to heart. Unless a couple learns to do this, they will find it harder and harder as time passes. Communication is an art learned in moments of peace in order to be practiced in moments of difficulty. Spouses need help in discovering their deepest thoughts and feelings and expressing them. Like childbirth, this is a painful process that brings forth a new treasure.
Two things struck me above. Heart speaking to heart, cor ad cor loquitur: the motto of Cardinal Newman. Also, that communication is an art. Let’s remember that art isn’t the exclusive realm of a professional artist. Anyone can learn the beautiful, subtle, and sublime effort that connects our heart to the heart of a beloved other.
The answers given to the pre-synodal consultation showed that most people in difficult or critical situations do not seek pastoral assistance, since they do not find it sympathetic, realistic or concerned for individual cases. This should spur us to try to approach marriage crises with greater sensitivity to their burden of hurt and anxiety.
Most people do not trust their clergy. That should certainly merit serious attention. How many bishops who have begun their initiatives to “implement” Amoris Laetitia have done something with developing deeper counseling skills with their clergy? Or engaged more lay people to reach out to those in need?
For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.