Reflections of God's Goodness
The world is made up of all kinds of families and we all belong to one of them! Family is the most important unit of society. Nothing shapes or breaks us like painful family life situations. Even small tensions among family members can be a distressing experience.
It has been proven again and again that children who do not grow up in a strong family environment have hardly a chance at healthy relationships. Conversely, a strong and positive family environment grounds our identity, nurtures us and protects us during the storms of life.
Pope Francis reminds us (in his Address to Families, Manila, Philippines, January 16, 2015) that,
Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself. The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passes through the family. The future passes through the family.
The church knows the importance of the ‘home’ church. Our faith is formed and grows in the day in and day out interactions within the family. It is here that we learn about love. It is in these primary relationships that we learn to forgive and be forgiven. It is here that we learn who God is. It is within our families that we learn the importance and power of prayer.
Pope Francis says that there are three important phrases that families must practice: May I? Thank you! I am sorry. So simple, yet each of us can improve in our practice of these small courtesies that show our love and reverence for one another.
Jesus called his disciples to a new way. “Love one another,” He said. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” The world needs this witness today. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The world Meeting of Families just ended and soon Pope Francis will host a worldwide synod on family life. Once again, the spotlight will be on the church, and Pope Francis. What can we do? How can we participate? We can pray with words, for the Pope, the Bishops and for families. Even more important, we can once again commit to following Jesus by our actions.
What is one action you can take with your family to be in solidarity with Pope Francis as he calls us all to strengthen family ties? Who is the one person in your family that needs forgiveness and love? Take a step towards reconciliation. Pray for your family. Remember with gratitude your ancestors who passed the faith down to you.
May God give us the grace to love and forgive, especially those closest to us. In thanksgiving for the gift and challenge of family, may we grow in faith and love.
Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn
Director of Development
It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement…I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.