"Pastoral Care of the Family" - St. JPII

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

How grateful we can be for the graces God has given JPII in writing, and given us in reading “Familiaris Consortio”; I continue to be blessed by my re-reading of it. Here’s another excerpt:

**PART FOUR - PASTORAL CARE OF THE FAMILY: STAGES, STRUCTURES, AGENTS AND SITUATIONS

I - STAGES OF PASTORAL CARE OF THE FAMILY

The Church Accompanies the Christian Family on Its Journey Through Life**

  1. Like every other living reality, the family too is called upon to develop and grow. After the preparation of engagement and the sacramental celebration of marriage, the couple begin their daily journey towards the progressive actuation of the values and duties of marriage itself.

In the light of faith and by virtue of hope, the Christian family too shares, in communion with the Church, in the experience of the earthly pilgrimage towards the full revelation and manifestation of the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, it must be emphasized once more that the pastoral intervention of the Church in support of the family is a matter of urgency. Every effort should be made to strengthen and develop pastoral care for the family, which should be treated as a real matter of priority, in the certainty that future evangelization depends largely on the domestic Church."

The Church’s pastoral concern will not be limited only to the Christian families closest at hand; it will extend its horizons in harmony with the Heart of Christ, and will show itself to be even more lively for families in general and for those families in particular which are in difficult or irregular situations. For all of them the Church will have a word of truth, goodness, understanding, hope and deep sympathy with their sometimes tragic difficulties. To all of them she will offer her disinterested help so that they can come closer to that model of a family which the Creator intended from “the beginning” and which Christ has renewed with His redeeming grace.

The Church’s pastoral action must be progressive, also in the sense that it must follow the family, accompanying it step by step in the different stages of its formation and development.

Remembering that St. JPII wrote this in 1981, it is a sad for me to look back on those years to see so little that was done, and to see today the results. We see even greater indifference, among Catholics and non Catholics, regarding the Sanctity of Marriage and the beautiful call to Families to be sharing Christ with one another and with the whole wold. Compare for instance, the number of families who watched the Superbowl with the number who participated in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass yesterday. Compare on any day the number of persons who are concerned and busy about many things but neglect the One thing (our relationship with God) so necessary for us all – here and hereafter! Let us pray fervently with Mary our Mother for all in most need of God’s Mercy, that we begin anew this day with contrite and humble hearts.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your Faithful. Kindle in us the Fire of Your Love.
Jesus, we trust in You!
Mary, Mother of the Church, Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

beginningtopray.blogspot.com/

When it comes to marriage, as to the rest of life, the Word of the Father does not offer us a fairytale, but a reason for our hope. He does not offer a happy ending in this life, but suffering, and the promise of glory in the life to come- for He commands us to deny ourselves and follow in His footsteps. Whatever becomes of our marriages and our families, there is no room for anxiety or despair - for the Bridegroom calls. His voice resounds in both sorrow and joy, hope and anxiety. He is waiting for our response. To accept Him, come what come may, is to journey forward, even if in complete humiliation, towards a fullness of joy too great for this life to contain.

This journey progresses by means of the Cross - this means believing in God’s love in all manner of hardships and trials, even when all human love seems to fail. Only those who dare to make this journey, however, discover that love that no power or abyss of misery can overcome. The love that awaits us ahead is stronger than death - and even if we die, death in the face of this love is not the last word. For in this love and by this love we live.

This Love is a gift. He comes to us in the form of “the Word” spoken by the Father into our flesh. He comes full of confidence into our difficult life history - that common story in which each of us shares, and those particular sorrows that no one else can share with us, but Him. In the midst of this life’s storm, the silent majesty of this Divine Word is filled with a longing for our humanity that is deeper and more ancient than our resistance to Him. The soul’s Deepest Center, He draws a response from places so deep in our being that we do not even know they exist. Even in the most bitter catastrophe, a hidden hope gestates because of the salvation that He has come to bring.

The One who aches for faithfulness is never indifferent to tears shed over married love.This Light walks into the darkness of failed or struggling marriages undaunted. He is confident even when we have completely lost our confidence. He walks on top of the waves of despair and reaches to pull us above the flood if we will turn our eyes to Him and cry for help. In the face of an angry and hostile world, in our weaknesses and voids, He indissolubly fashions marriage and sanctifies it by His blood – changing our limited efforts to give ourselves in service to one another into a wellspring of grace.

The Word by which all things were made, including marriage itself, waits for couples to seek Him in the silence of Eucharistic Adoration. He is present to those husbands and wives who in their humiliation and feelings of abandonment trust in Him. Through a family’s icons He beholds the candlelight shining on the faces of both the betrayed and the betrayer, and He hears the faith that cries out to Him from pain. Before the barren wall that bears His Cross, He weeps with those who weep. His silent fullness fills every emptiness. His last wordless cry establishes meaning even when a marriage’s crushing circumstances seem to render everything meaningless.

The conqueror of death, the Risen One has opened the gates even to the hell that we make of our lives and families. Where no other connection seems left, He is all the connection that we really need. For couples who need integrity restored, He is ready to become their integrity. For couples whose purity is compromised, He is ready to purify anew. He liberates from cycles of shame and disgrace. He establishes trust and peace. For couples that need a new beginning, He is the Word that is from the Beginning.

When we struggle against running away from heartache and are loathed to face the truth, the One who is True finds His rest in bearing even the most bitter struggles with us in love. He provides courage for those difficult conversations. He makes it possible to humble oneself, to forgive, to be forgiven. The Man of Sorrows is ever ready to teach how to intercede for the one who has betrayed, denied and abandoned his friend. He is ready to baptize a couple in His compassion when they have deeply saddened one another.

The humble presence of the Truth Himself causes pride to fall, and raises up from bitter humiliation. Because He is righteous and true, this Mighty Warrior does not fail to fight for faithfulness. Because He has overcome, not even addictions or depression or long painful illnesses can prevent His love from prevailing. Even when one’s own life’s companion will not hear His voice, He is enough to fill even the most difficult life with joy. Against every obstinacy, He evokes conversion of heart and puts the whole of one’s life into dialogue with the love of the Father.

The radiance of the Bridegroom purifies and transforms all our loves the more we make space for Him in our lives. The more a couple will allow Him to captivate their hearts, the easier it is to surrender everything to Him. He treasures those fleeting moments of unexpected victory when husband and wife stand together in faith. He is amazed and gives thanks to the Father when together with Him they lift up their hearts in thanksgiving – because of all of these mysterious blessings that they do not understand and struggle to receive.

Posted by Anthony Lilles

Peace

Great points.

Also, people inside and outside the Church have used the term “pastoral care” to their own whim by advising others to neglect proper Church teaching. True “pastoral care” would never compromise the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

Thanks hazcompat,

Excellent words from a good theologian. His words ring solid and true, and I’m glad he is working in the area of Spiritual Formation, so sorely needed in the Church today. Nice blog.

Sorry I needed to shorten the blog article but it was too long to post with this additional comment: My hsband corresponded with Anthony Lillies, after Lillies mentioned my husband’s book, "The Ordinary Path to Holiness in HPR. Thomas then sent him a copy of his second book and Lillies read The Interior Liturgy of the Our Father and wrote a recommndation for that book in the revised e-book version. If anyone is interested in these books you can read about them: HERE and HERE Scroll down on this second link to read Anthony Lillies’ recommendation. :slight_smile:

Absolutely! Thanks for this reply.

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