Amoris Laetitia 316: Family As Path To Mystical Union

amoris laetitia memeToday, the Holy Father leans on his two predecessors to convey the aspiration for daily and gradual growth in holiness:

316. A positive experience of family communion is a true path to daily sanctification and mystical growth, a means for deeper union with God. The fraternal and communal demands of family life are an incentive to growth in openness of heart and thus to an ever fuller encounter with the Lord. The word of God tells us that “the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness” (1 Jn 2:11); such a person “abides in death” (1 Jn 3:14) and “does not know God” (1 Jn 4:8). My predecessor Benedict XVI pointed out that “closing our eyes to our neighbor also blinds us to God”,(Deus Caritas Est 16) and that, in the end, love is the only light which can “constantly illuminate a world grown dim”.(Deus Caritas Est 39) If only we “love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 Jn 4:12). Since “the human person has an inherent social dimension”,(Christifideles Laici 40) and “the first and basic expression of that social dimension of the person is the married couple and the family”,(Ibid.) spirituality becomes incarnate in the communion of the family. Hence, those who have deep spiritual aspirations should not feel that the family detracts from their growth in the life of the Spirit, but rather see it as a path which the Lord is using to lead them to the heights of mystical union.

So frequently in ministry I’ve heard regrets from people who cannot be as involved as they would like to be because of family commitments. Perhaps our spirituality on this front is somewhat impoverished, but I think Pope Francis is right. Caring for family members is a route to holiness. It may not be as obvious as the public acts of worship and what worship leaders do. But it is a holy pilgrimage nonetheless.

For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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