Amoris Laetitia 69: John Paul II

amoris laetitia memeNo pope had more to say about family than Saint John Paul. So a little is recounted here:

69. “Saint John Paul II devoted special attention to the family in his catecheses on human love, in his Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane and particularly in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. In these documents, the Pope defined the family as ‘the way of the Church’. He also offered a general vision of the vocation of men and women to love, and proposed basic guidelines for the pastoral care of the family and for the role of the family in society. In particular, by treating conjugal love (cf. No. 13), he described how spouses, in their mutual love, receive the gift of the Spirit of Christ and live their call to holiness”.(Relatio Synodi 2014, 18)

I put the hyper link on St John Paul’s document in the text above. In the brief citation above, I noticed “vocation.” An underused description, I think, but a very apt one.

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

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Amoris Laetitia 68: Humanae Vitae

amoris laetitia memeWe looked at Humanae Vitae here last year. The section cited in the final document of the synod bishops looks at the responsibilities of marriage, not as much the rights. Sometimes the notion of duty makes us squeamish (and to be sure, married couples aren’t the only ones who might shy away from responsibility). Let’s read:

68. “Blessed Paul VI, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, further developed the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family. In a particular way, with the Encyclical Humanae Vitae he brought out the intrinsic bond between conjugal love and the generation of life: ‘Married love requires of husband and wife the full awareness of their obligations in the matter of responsible parenthood, which today, rightly enough, is much insisted upon, but which at the same time must be rightly understood… The exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties towards God, themselves, their families and human society’ (No. 10). In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Paul VI highlighted the relationship between the family and the Church”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 43)

There is indeed a bond, but “generation of life” limits us too much here. I would hope the church views this as not just a biological reality, but also a social and spiritual effort. Married couples also contribute in a special way to assist children generally in society to be reared and formed as human beings ready to receive the fullest revelation of their potential in God. More so than clergy or religious? I wonder.

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

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Amoris Laetitia 67: The Family in the Documents of the Church

amoris laetitia memeParagraphs 67 through 70 review what we say about the family in Church documents. Let’s begin with Vatican II, as cited by the synod bishops:

67. The Second Vatican Council, in its Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, was concerned “to promote the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. Nos. 47-52)”. The Constitution “defined marriage as a community of life and love (cf. 48), placing love at the center of the family… ‘True love between husband and wife’ (49) involves mutual self-giving, includes and integrates the sexual and affective dimensions, in accordance with God’s plan (cf. 48-49)”. The conciliar document also emphasizes “the grounding of the spouses in Christ. Christ the Lord ‘makes himself present to the Christian spouses in the sacrament of marriage’ (48) and remains with them. In the incarnation, he assumes human love, purifies it and brings it to fulfilment. By his Spirit, he gives spouses the capacity to live that love, permeating every part of their lives of faith, hope and charity. In this way, the spouses are consecrated and by means of a special grace build up the Body of Christ and form a domestic church (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11), so that the Church, in order fully to understand her mystery, looks to the Christian family, which manifests her in a real way”.(Relatio Synodi 2014, 17)

I know we covered this here ten years ago, but today’s takeaway for me is the definition of marriage as a community. What does that mean? A decade ago, I was struck by the sense of “consecration” given to the spouses of a marriage. Pope Francis also mentions this in connection to the establishment of a domestic church from Lumen Gentium. Comments from any of you readers?

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

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Off To Retreat

St Martin Abbey GuesthouseI’ve been away from the blog before, so y’all know the drill. Play nice, especially with FrM. Amoris Laetitia posts all set up for the coming week, so tune in around 4am Pacific daylight time for the daily feed.

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you know my mother has been hospitalized for over a week. Dizzy spell, fall, break, orthopedic surgery, an uncontrolled aortic aneurysm, and some complications from all that. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be postponing my visit to St Martin’s Abbey. The other morning my sister related mom’s comment as she was sitting up, eating breakfast and quite alert, “Y’all thought I was going to kick the bucket. But I tricked you.”

On that note, I think I can get away with few concerns in the outside world. I can feel physical fatigue these days. Maybe just getting older. More likely a long and productive year in ministry, plus those family concerns. I missed my retreat last summer, so this will be a welcome time of extended prayer.

My last two retreats at Benedictine abbeys have been very rich and grace-filled. But I always head into such times with the advice given by the Trappist guestmaster on my very first retreat: leave all agendas behind and be open to God.

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Amoris Laetitia 66: Nazareth, The Meaning of Family Life

amoris laetitia memePope Paul VI takes us out this subsection of Chapter Three “Jesus Restores and Fulfills God’s Plan.”

66. “The covenant of love and fidelity lived by the Holy Family of Nazareth illuminates the principle which gives shape to every family, and enables it better to face the vicissitudes of life and history. On this basis, every family, despite its weaknesses, can become a light in the darkness of the world. ‘Nazareth teaches us the meaning of family life, its loving communion, its simple and austere beauty, its sacred and inviolable character. May it teach how sweet and irreplaceable is its training, how fundamental and incomparable its role in the social order’ (Paul VI, Address in Nazareth, 5 January 1964)”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 41)

A simple proposal for the spiritual life, but perhaps a difficult one. I mean the notion that people see the Holy Family as an focus of devotion, and less one of imitation. I also suspect people focus on the child Jesus, and perhaps not as much the parents with child. Or perhaps you have a different experience? If so, let’s hear.

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

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Amoris Laetitia 65: The Hidden Life of Jesus

amoris laetitia memeNo footnotes here; just Pope Francis reflecting on the believer’s accompaniment of Jesus in his first thirty years:

65. The incarnation of the Word in a human family, in Nazareth, by its very newness changed the history of the world. We need to enter into the mystery of Jesus’ birth, into that “yes” given by Mary to the message of the angel, when the Word was conceived in her womb, as well as the “yes” of Joseph, who gave a name to Jesus and watched over Mary. We need to contemplate the joy of the shepherds before the manger, the adoration of the Magi and the flight into Egypt, in which Jesus shares his people’s experience of exile, persecution and humiliation. We need to contemplate the religious expectation of Zechariah and his joy at the birth of John the Baptist, the fulfilment of the promise made known to Simeon and Anna in the Temple and the marvel of the teachers of the Law who listened to the wisdom of the child Jesus. We then need to peer into those thirty long years when Jesus earned his keep by the work of his hands, reciting the traditional prayers and expressions of his people’s faith and coming to know that ancestral faith until he made it bear fruit in the mystery of the Kingdom. This is the mystery of Christmas and the secret of Nazareth, exuding the beauty of family life! It was this that so fascinated Francis of Assisi, Theresa of the Child Jesus and Charles de Foucauld, and continues to fill Christian families with hope and joy.

This is a typical Ignatian approach, derived from part of the second “week” of the Spiritual Exercises, especially here and here.

For your reference, check the full document Amoris Laetitia online.

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Mary Magdalene, Apostle

Red_Paschal_Egg_with_CrossOne easy, logical, and appropriate step for liturgy. If it had come from Pope Benedict XVI it wouldn’t have surprised me. CDWDS secretary Arthur Roche:

Therefore it is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman has the same grade of feast given to the celebration of the apostles in the General Roman Calendar, and shines a light on the special mission of this woman, who is an example and model for every woman in the Church.

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