Amoris Laetitia 318: Family Prayer

amoris laetitia memeFor many families, my own included, prayer is often rote. The facility to pray spontaneously, as if one were speaking in real time to an actual friend, is not well-cultivated. Do we think to “come together” and include God in family discussions and discernment as if God were an actual person? Or do we each tend to petition directly and individually, especially when there is some estrangement?

Pope Francis writes of family prayer being a moment, not a lasting burden of time:

318. Family prayer is a special way of expressing and strengthening this paschal faith.(Cf. Relatio Finalis 2015, 87) A few minutes can be found each day to come together before the living God, to tell him our worries, to ask for the needs of our family, to pray for someone experiencing difficulty, to ask for help in showing love, to give thanks for life and for its blessings, and to ask Our Lady to protect us beneath her maternal mantle. With a few simple words, this moment of prayer can do immense good for our families. The various expressions of popular piety are a treasure of spirituality for many families.

Popular piety is good. An observance of Sunday, in some way, is laudable too:

The family’s communal journey of prayer culminates by sharing together in the Eucharist, especially in the context of the Sunday rest. Jesus knocks on the door of families, to share with them the Eucharistic supper (cf. Rev 3:20). There, spouses can always seal anew the paschal covenant which united them and which ought to reflect the covenant which God sealed with mankind in the cross.(Familiaris Consortio  57) The Eucharist is the sacrament of the new covenant, where Christ’s redemptive work is carried out (cf. Lk 22:20). The close bond between married life and the Eucharist thus becomes all the more clear.* For the food of the Eucharist offers the spouses the strength and incentive needed to live the marriage covenant each day as a “domestic church”.(Lumen Gentium, 11)

*Nor should we forget that God’s covenant with his people is expressed as an espousal (cf. Ez 16:8, 60; Is 62:5; Hos 2:21-22), and that the new covenant is also presented as a betrothal (cf. Rev 19:7; 21:2; Eph 5:25).

Sunday as a day to renew vows of marriage: now there’s a thought I have yet to see promoted. Perhaps those who fuss a bit about “confusion” are attending to their marriages in this way. Are you?

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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