Amoris Laetitia 322: Mercy In Family Life

amoris laetitia memeLet’s read in full:

322. All family life is a “shepherding” in mercy. Each of us, by our love and care, leaves a mark on the life of others; with Paul, we can say: “You are our letter of recommendation, written on your hearts… not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Cor 3:2-3). Each of us is a “fisher of men” (Lk 5:10) who in Jesus’ name “casts the nets” (cf. Lk 5:5) to others, or a farmer who tills the fresh soil of those whom he or she loves, seeking to bring out the best in them. Marital fruitfulness involves helping others, for “to love anybody is to expect from him something which can neither be defined nor foreseen; it is at the same time in some way to make it possible for him to fulfill this expectation”.* This is itself a way to worship God, who has sown so much good in others in the hope that we will help make it grow.
* Gabriel Marcel, Homo Viator: prolégomènes à une métaphysique de l’espérance, Paris, 1944, p. 66. English: Homo Viator. An Introduction to a Metaphysics of Hope, London, 1951, p. 49.

What do you make of the Holy Father’s follow-up comment to the citation from Gabriel Marcel? Is a human relationship an act of worship?

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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2 Responses to Amoris Laetitia 322: Mercy In Family Life

  1. Liam says:

    Well, it *can* be and in the best sense *ought* to be. Even if the relationship is momentary (though I would distinguish such a relationship from encounter itself).

    I am delighted to learn there was a classic phrase (Homo Viator – (Hu)man on the Way – for what seems to be what I’ve called Hebrews 11 spirituality, which is very much a practice of hope, not just more obviously about faith, as hope has a certain drive forward to in, a going forth from desire (even though hope’s classical symbol is anchor – to me, faith is more the anchor of trust) – which, we know from Ignatian spirituality, that desire is a vital ingredient in santification:

    1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
    9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
    10 For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
    11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
    12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
    13 These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
    14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
    15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.
    16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

    39 And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised,
    40 since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

    (Revised Standard Version)

    • Liam says:

      And bookend this with Thomas Merton’s prayer of abandonment:

      My Lord God,
      I have no idea where I am going.
      I do not see the road ahead of me.
      I cannot know for certain
      where it will end.

      Nor do I really know myself,
      and that I think I am following your will
      does not mean I am actually doing so.

      But I believe
      the desire to please you
      does in fact please you.
      And I hope I have that desire
      in all I am doing.

      I hope
      I will never do anything
      apart from that desire.
      And I know if I do this
      you will lead me by the right road
      though I may know nothing about it.

      I will trust you always
      though I may seem to be lost
      and in the shadow of death.

      I will not fear,
      for you will never leave me
      to face my perils alone.

      from “Thoughts in Solitude”

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