Dear Family of St Luke,
Over the next several articles, I will be giving you, insights into Pope Francis’ recent book “The Joy of Love” (On love in the
family). I just recently finished the book and highly recommend that you take some time to read this book from Pope
Francis. This book is a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation from the Synod on the Family. Pope Francis has a very easy
style of writing making it an easy read with key information for all Christians who are married or considering marriage. He
focuses on how to grow our relationship with our spouse and our responsibilities as Christian parents. My hope is that
through my articles you will become interested in diving into this book. These articles will clearly not cover all the key
points that you will get by reading the book, but rather give you enough to spark your interest.
Pope Francis says that his goal in writing this exhortation is to offer “help and encouragement to families in their daily
commitment and challenges”. All of us who are married for any length of time know that marriage though a vocation that
can give us great joy and blessing can also be a challenge. That is why; Jesus created the sacrament of marriage providing
many graces to give us the strength we need to weather the storms of life. Marriage also teaches us what love is all about.
Pope Francis goes on to say “The ability of human couples to beget life is the path along which the history of salvation
progresses. Seen this way, the couple’s fruitful relationship becomes an image for understanding and describing the mystery
of God himself. The triune God is a communion of love (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and the family is its living reflection.”
“The family is the first place where parents become their children’s first teachers in the faith.” As we raise our children, we
know they are like sponges in those early years often picking up everything, often things we wish they would not. There
early years is the time to begin to teach our children about the love of Christ for them. When we bring them to Mass on a
regular basis to thank and ask Jesus for His guidance, it can make a tremendous difference in our children’s lives. Pope
Francis talks about all the accounts in the Bible where Jesus talks about children and the family and the importance He
gives to us even learning from our children on how we can grow closer to the Lord. Have we ever realized they can teach us
about trust and love of God as we reveal God to them?
Pope Francis is also not afraid to talk about the challenges to family life. He speaks of “the tensions created by an overly
individualistic culture, caught up with possessions and pleasures, leading to intolerance and hostility in families.” In this
culture, we find an unwillingness to give more completely of oneself for others leading to a breaking down of the family.
When we see the permanence and indissolubility of marriage as gift rather than a burden, it challenges us to look for God’s
grace and help in keeping our focus on how we work with God’s grace to grow in love for our spouse. “Through His church,
Christ bestows on marriage and the family the grace necessary to bear witness to the love of God and to live the life of
communion.” As we work from God’s grace, we stop working out of our wants and needs but work for the good of our
spouse and family though it may mean sacrifice.
Clearly, marriage and parenting is a vocation not just a part time job or occupation. Through this vocation filled with
challenges it is important to begin to understand what God intended for marriage and those who are called to this vocation.
It is through spending time with Pope Francis’ book and the Bible that we begin to understand how this vocation can lead
us to holiness as was intended.
Join me next month as we open the pages a little more.
You remain in my daily prayer as we journey together towards God’s kingdom.