I just read the instrumentum laboris for the III extraordinary general assembly:
My interpretation is that nowadays the marital love is an icon of prophetism, at least for my life that is certain. On the other hand, it’s in nobody’s interest any kind of long-term engagement, like marriage: the escathological load is too heavy to bear, and having a self-obsessed mentality, it is a fundamental duty to avoid such “cross”.
Extracts that have claimed my attention:
- “A married couple possesses the charism (cf. 1 Cor 7:7) of building up the Church with their spousal love and the task of the procreation and rearing of children. United in an indissoluble sacramental bond, the spouses live the beauty of love, fatherhood and motherhood and the dignity of participating, in this way, in God’s creative work.” God’s plan for the Family
- Vatican II approaches marriage by defining marriage as a community of life and love (cf. GS, 48)
- Benedict XVI: “marriage based on an exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God’s way of loving becomes the measure of human love” (DCE, 11). Caritas in Veritate, he emphasizes the importance of love as the principle of life in society (cf. CV, 44), the place where a person learns to experience the common good.
- Francis: “Encountering Christ, letting themselves (young people) be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint. Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness” (LF, 53).
- Anthropological theme: The underlying anthropological concepts, on the one hand, look to an autonomy in human freedom which is not necessarily tied to an objective order in the nature of things, and, on the other hand, every human being’s aspiration to happiness, which is simply understood as the realization of personal desires.
- Today, love is considered “forever” only to the point that a relationship lasts.
- Western society is now witnessing many cases in which children, in addition to their being with separated and divorced parents who might or might not be remarried, find themselves with grandparents in the same situation.
- n Europe and North America in particular (but also among some countries in South Asia), the instances of couples or single persons, who lack a mentality of an openness to life, are increasing; single parenthood is also on the rise.
- Many times, especially in northern Europe and North America, children are considered a hindrance to the well-being of the individual and the couple.
- From the very first years of a person’s existence, the family is the place for the transmission and learning of values, such as brotherhood, loyalty, love for the truth and work, and respect and solidarity between generations, not to mention the art of communication and a sense of joy in living.
- Without the family, a person is unable to emerge from his individualism, since it is the only place to learn the power of love to sustain life, and “without a love which is trustworthy, nothing could truly keep men and women united. Human unity would be conceivable only on the basis of utility, on a calculus of conflicting interests or on fear, but not on the goodness of living together, not on the joy which the mere presence of others can give” (LF, 51).
In the Image of Trinitarian Life
35. A number of responses focuses on the image of the Trinity reflected in the family. The experience of the mutual love between the spouses is an assistance in understanding the life of the Trinity as love. Through a communion lived in the family, children can glimpse an image of the Trinity. Recently, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his catechesis on the sacraments, recalled that “when a man and woman celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony God as it were ‘is mirrored’ in them; he impresses in them his own features and the indelible character of his love. Marriage is the icon of God’s love for us. Indeed, God is communion too: the three Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit live eternally in perfect unity. And this is precisely the mystery of Matrimony: God makes of the two spouses one single life” (General Audience, 2 April 2014).
- For this reason, many different approaches are being adopted in catechesis, namely, offering instruction on the subject to the following: young people, even before their engagement; the parents of engaged couples; couples already married; people who are separated; and those requesting Baptism for their children. Whether it be tensions and conflicts in a marriage due to a lack of mutual trust and intimacy or the domination of one marriage partner over the other or the inter-generational conflict between parents and children, all hinder the building of family relationships and can even make them entirely impossible.
- The dramatic aspect of these situations is that they lead to the gradual disappearance of the possibility of dialogue as well as the time and opportunity to work on relationships. For want of sharing and communication, each one is forced to face difficulties in isolation without an experience of being loved and, in turn, loving others.
- In some places in society, persons often don’t experience love, especially the love of a father, thereby making it particularly difficult to experience God’s love and him as Father. The lack of a father-figure in many families causes major imbalances in households and uncertainty in gender identification in children. People who do not witness, live and accept love on a daily basis find it particularly difficult to discover the person of Christ as the Son of God and the love of God the Father.
- the responses constantly allude to not only addictions to alcohol and drugs but also pornography, at times used and shared within families, not to mention addictions to gambling and video games, the Internet and social networks.
- In fact, television, smart phones and computers can be a real impediment to dialogue among family members, leading to a breakdown and alienation in relationships within a family, where communication depends more and more on technology. In the end, the means of communication and access to the Internet replace real family relationships with virtual ones. This situation runs the risk of leading to not only the disunity and breakdown of the family but also the possibility that the virtual world will replace the real one (particularly a danger in Europe, North America and Asia). The responses consistently mention how even a family’s leisure time is hijacked by these instruments.
- gradual isolation of persons, causing even greater anxiety.
- overcome an overly romantic idea that love is only an intense feeling towards each other and teach them that it is, instead, a personal response to another person as part of a joint project of life, which reveals a great mystery and great promise.
- “Parents are called, as Saint Augustine once said, not only to bring children into the world but also to bring them to God, so that through baptism they can be reborn as children of God and receive the gift of faith” (LF, 43).
- The majority of responses see an absolute need for a follow-up programme for couples after marriage with meetings aimed at offering them assistance.
- Gradually focusing more on “what I have” rather than “who I am”