Five years after the publication of Pope Francis’ post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetita, the Vatican has inaugurated the Amoris Laetitia Family Year on the Feast of Saint Joseph, Friday 19 March. Marking the beginning of the year-long celebration, Pope Francis sent a message to participants in a webinar on the theme ‘Our Daily Love’.
Pope Francis opened his message by greeting participants, and in particular, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life; Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Grand Chancellor of the John Paul II Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and the Family – who organised the event.
The Pope recalled the publication of his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia on the beauty and joy of family love, and invited all to “live a year of rereading the document and reflecting on the theme, until the celebration of the Tenth World Meeting of Families which is scheduled to take place in Rome on 26 June, 2022.
A new look on the family
In his message Pope Francis noted that “the main intention of Amoris Laetitia is to communicate that “today a new look at the family is necessary on the part of the Church.” He stressed that reiterating the value of doctrine is not enough. Rather, we must become “custodians” of the beauty of the family, and take care of its fragilities and wounds “with compassion”.
Pope Francis went on to say that there are two aspects at the heart of all family ministry: “the frankness of the proclamation of the Gospel and the tenderness of accompaniment”.
He explained that, on the one hand, “we proclaim to couples, spouses and families a Word that helps them grasp the authentic meaning of the union and love, the sign and image of Trinitarian love and of the covenant between Christ and the Church.”
On the other hand, the Pope noted, “this proclamation cannot and must never be given from above or from outside.” He explained that the Church is incarnated in history, as was her Master. So, when she proclaims the Gospel of the family she does so by immersing herself in real life, knowing firsthand the daily struggles of spouses and parents, their problems, their sufferings, all those small and large situations that weigh down and sometimes hinder their journey.”
Our Daily Love
It is in this context that daily love is lived, said the Pope, making reference to the title of the webinar. He noted that the title is a significant choice, because it is “about the love generated by the simplicity and the silent work of the life of a couple, by that daily and sometimes tiring commitment carried out by spouses, mothers, fathers and children”.
He said that if the Gospel is proposed as a “doctrine from on high” without entering into the “flesh” of daily life, it risks remaining only a beautiful theory and even being experienced as a moral obligation.
“We are called to accompany, listen, and bless the journey of families,” said the Pope. Not only to chart the direction, but to make the journey with them; to enter the home with discretion and love, to say to the couple: the Church is with you; the Lord is close to you; we want to help you safeguard the gift you have received.
Finally, the Pope urged, “Let us support the family! Let us defend it from all that compromises its beauty.”
And he invited everyone to “approach this mystery of love with wonder, discretion and tenderness. And let us commit ourselves to safeguarding its precious and delicate bonds: children, parents, grandparents… We need these bonds to live and to live well, to make humanity more fraternal.”