Amoris Laetitia 324: Hospitality

amoris laetitia memeThe Holy Father touts the virtue and act of hospitality:

324. Led by the Spirit, the family circle is not only open to life by generating it within itself, but also by going forth and spreading life by caring for others and seeking their happiness. This openness finds particular expression in hospitality,(Familiaris Consortio 44) which the word of God eloquently encourages: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2). When a family is welcoming and reaches out to others, especially the poor and the neglected, it is “a symbol, witness and participant in the Church’s motherhood”.(Familiaris Consortio 49) Social love, as a reflection of the Trinity, is what truly unifies the spiritual meaning of the family and its mission to others, for it makes present the kerygma in all its communal imperatives. The family lives its spirituality precisely by being at one and the same time a domestic church and a vital cell for transforming the world.(Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 248-254)

A pastor I know once worked this theme into many of his wedding homilies. One of the fruits of a sacramental marriage is an expanded sense of others. Sacramental love between two cannot help but spread to family, friends, and even the poor and needy. I can only pray for such grace. What about you?

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

Posted in Amoris Laetitia | Leave a comment

Amoris Laetitia 323: Tenderness

amoris laetitia memeToday, a follow-up to the notion of relationship being a worship-of-God experience:

323. It is a profound spiritual experience to contemplate our loved ones with the eyes of God and to see Christ in them. This demands a freedom and openness which enable us to appreciate their dignity. We can be fully present to others only by giving fully of ourselves and forgetting all else. Our loved ones merit our complete attention. Jesus is our model in this, for whenever people approached to speak with him, he would meet their gaze, directly and lovingly (cf. Mk 10:21). No one felt overlooked in his presence, since his words and gestures conveyed the question: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mk 10:51). This is what we experience in the daily life of the family. We are constantly reminded that each of those who live with us merits complete attention, since he or she possesses infinite dignity as an object of the Father’s immense love. This gives rise to a tenderness which can “stir in the other the joy of being loved. Tenderness is expressed in a particular way by exercising loving care in treating the limitations of the other, especially when they are evident”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 88)

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

Posted in Amoris Laetitia | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Amoris Laetitia | 2 Comments

Music of the Trees 3: The Five Sacred Trees

yewJohn Williams is massively known for his massive body of film music. But one of my favorite modern works is his concerto The Five Sacred Trees. I have the disk of the London Symphony performance with Judith LeClair. It is quite fine. You can find any number of orchestral performances on YouTube. I certainly recommend the acquisition of the cd.

For something a bit more intimate, check the harp and bassoon duet here in the third movement, presenting the yew.

The composer speaks:

The Tree of Ross (or Eó Rosa) is a yew, and although the yew is often referred to as a symbol of death and destruction, The Tree of Ross is often the subject of much rhapsodizing in the literature. It is referred to as “a mother’s good,” “Diadem of the Angels,” and “faggot of the sages.” Hence the lyrical character of this movement, wherein the bassoon oncants [sic] and is accompanied by the harp.

The bassoon hasn’t gotten much respect since Vivaldi. But since I first heard this work twenty years ago, it represents the age and dignity of trees so well. I hope you enjoy this listening.


Posted in Music | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Amoris Laetitia 321: Spirituality of Care, Consolation, and Incentive

amoris laetitia memeToday, we look at a spirituality of care, consolation and incentive, starting with Vatican II:

321. “Christian couples are, for each other, for their children and for their relatives, cooperators of grace and witnesses of the faith”.(Apostolicam Actuositatem 11) God calls them to bestow life and to care for life.

And moving to Pope Francis and his second predecessor:

For this reason the family “has always been the nearest ‘hospital’”.(Catechesis (10 June 2015)) So let us care for one another, guide and encourage one another, and experience this as a part of our family spirituality. Life as a couple is a daily sharing in God’s creative work, and each person is for the other a constant challenge from the Holy Spirit. God’s love is proclaimed “through the living and concrete word whereby a man and the woman express their conjugal love”.(Familiaris Consortio 12) The two are thus mutual reflections of that divine love which comforts with a word, a look, a helping hand, a caress, an embrace. For this reason “to want to form a family is to resolve to be a part of God’s dream, to choose to dream with him, to want to build with him, to join him in this saga of building a world where no one will feel alone”.(Address at the Prayer Vigil of the Festival of Families, Philadelphia (26 September 2015))

Any thoughts to add? For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

Posted in Amoris Laetitia | Leave a comment

Amoris Laetitia 320: Healthy Autonomy

amoris laetitia memeWhat do you make of Pope Francis’s interpretation of healthy autonomy?

320. There comes a point where a couple’s love attains the height of its freedom and becomes the basis of a healthy autonomy. This happens when each spouse realizes that the other is not his or her own, but has a much more important master, the one Lord. No one but God can presume to take over the deepest and most personal core of the loved one; he alone can be the ultimate center of their life. At the same time, the principle of spiritual realism requires that one spouse not presume that the other can completely satisfy his or her needs. The spiritual journey of each – as Dietrich Bonhoeffer nicely put it – needs to help them to a certain “disillusionment” with regard to the other,(Cf. Gemeinsames Leben, Munich, 1973, p. 18. English: Life Together, New York, 1954, p. 27) to stop expecting from that person something which is proper to the love of God alone. This demands an interior divestment. The space which each of the spouses makes exclusively for their personal relationship with God not only helps heal the hurts of life in common, but also enables the spouses to find in the love of God the deepest source of meaning in their own lives. Each day we have to invoke the help of the Holy Spirit to make this interior freedom possible.

A few things …

Many couples experience or fear “drifting apart.” It takes some careful discernm,ent to ensure that the claim to autonomy isn’t an excuse for drifting.

Looking to one’s spouse to fulfill all needs: I’d say we’re looking across the board of all human experiences. Perhaps a better orientation is to be outward looking. In other words, how can I fulfill some of my partner’s needs and allow an independence to let the other search for additional support?

I noticed that phrase “interior divestment.” Reminds me of the Ignatian principle of detachment.

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

Posted in Amoris Laetitia | Leave a comment

Amoris Laetitia 319: Spirituality of Married Love

amoris laetitia memeToday, a discussion starter on the topic of a spirituality of exclusive and free love. Pope John Paul II assists us:

319. Marriage is also the experience of belonging completely to another person. Spouses accept the challenge and aspiration of supporting one another, growing old together, and in this way reflecting God’s own faithfulness. This firm decision, which shapes a style of life, is an “interior requirement of the covenant of conjugal love”,(Familiaris Consortio 11) since “a person who cannot choose to love for ever can hardly love for even a single day. (John Paul II, Homily at Mass with Families, Cordoba, Argentina (8 April 1987), 4: Insegnamenti X/1 (1987), 1161-1162)

Pope Francis adds that marriage is not about appearances. The Lord sees our deepest heart. If we are withholding qualities such as devotion, joy, self-sacrifice, we are seen and outed to the Lord’s eyes.

At the same time, such fidelity would be spiritually meaningless were it simply a matter of following a law with obedient resignation. Rather, it is a matter of the heart, into which God alone sees (cf. Mt 5:28). Every morning, on rising, we reaffirm before God our decision to be faithful, come what may in the course of the day. And all of us, before going to sleep, hope to wake up and continue this adventure, trusting in the Lord’s help. In this way, each spouse is for the other a sign and instrument of the closeness of the Lord, who never abandons us: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20).

In addition to marking Sunday as a day of renewal for marriages (Cf. Amoris Laetitia 318) the Holy Father counsels the two hinges of the day as appropriate times to take spiritual stock and seek interior faithfulness. Lauds and Vespers oriented to the domestic Church, it would seem. Any comments?

Posted in Amoris Laetitia | Leave a comment