The Family: A Community of Love and Life

“The most beautiful thing that God did, says the Bible, was the family. All that love that He made in creation, He gave it and shared it and bestowed it on family,” said Holy Father Francis, in a speech before a large crowd attendees on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Yes, families are bound together not just by emotion but by blood. And in our case – the family we call the Church – it’s the blood of Jesus Christ. We’re all redeemed by His blood . . . and therefore we’re all in the Gospel vocation together: laypeople, deacons, religious, priests and bishops work for the good of the church as one Family. We all have the task of bringing Jesus Christ to the world, and the world to Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you . . . By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35). If Jesus died for us . . . we can surely at least live for each other as one family.

In the present world only one in four families can be described as intact and “traditional”, especially in Europe and United States of America. And this trend is slowly creping in our country and other cultures too– in other words, two parents, single income, with children living at home.
The results aren’t surprising. Wounded families make a wounded culture. In fact, for more than a decade, research by various people has clearly shown that easy divorce and so-called “diverse” forms of family structure just don’t work. Step-parent and single-parent families do not reinforce the social fabric. Rather, they unintentionally weaken it — and they have a long-term effect. Children from broken families find it harder to build permanent marriages themselves. They have a tougher time excelling at school; avoiding crime; finding intimacy in relationships; and holding steady employment.

And the list of problems goes on and none of this information is new. None of it is secret.

Holy Father Francis continued to say: “Family is beautiful, but there’s effort involved, and there are problems. Husbands and wives quarrel, and end up badly, separated. Never let the day end without making peace. Let’s protect the family, because it’s in the family that our future is at play.”

The lesson here is pretty simple. We still think of ourselves as a more or less Christian people; more that 90 percent of us still pray and describe ourselves as believing in God; our Churches are still full. But the content of our experience has changed a lot. We claim to be more “spiritual” . . . but less formally religious.

Fr. Jacob Alvares, SAC.

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