LOVE GROWS BY GIVING!
14-21 MAY 2017
Every year the Church in Canada sets aside one week as a special time for prayer and reflection on life and the family. Given the cultural climate in which we find ourselves – with the value of human life and the central role of the family constantly called into question – can anything be more deserving of our attention?
The recent canonization of St. Theresa of Kolkata brings to mind her now famous response when asked how one might best help to “change the world.” “Go home and love your family!” she replied. In the same spirit, Pope Francis has repeatedly called the faithful to go out to the “periphery” in pursuit of those whose choices have put them outside the ordinary life of the Church. Nearly every one of us has a family member whose circumstances of life would seem to place them “outside the fold”; someone for whom Christ’s mercy might seem out of reach; for whom we might become the face of Christ’s mercy.
In their document, “Elements of a Pastoral Plan for Life and Family” – adopted in 2011 – the Bishops of Canada reminded the faithful that “every form of poverty” has its roots in the family. Today, the harried demands of family life continue to rob many of us of precious opportunities to make Christ’s love present in the world. In the fourth chapter of his recent encyclical, “The Joy of Love” (Amoris Laetitia) the Holy Father offers us a penetrating reflection on St. Paul’s hymn to Love (1 Corinthians 13:2-3). Let us all seize the opportunity, during this year’s National Week for Life and Family, to reflect with Pope Francis on the wonderful role which God has entrusted to the family in transmitting true love. Let us ask ourselves how we can better reflect God’s unconditional love and mercy, whether in the context of our own day to day family life or to family members or friends “at the periphery”.
As the Gospel of John reminds us “love comes from God” . . . God is Love! Can the family survive – can the trials of life be endured; can life itself be truly valued and nurtured -- in the absence of love; without the awareness and the experience of God’s loving and merciful presence mediated by the selfless love of parents and family? We all know the answer. Let us embrace it with expectation and change the world; for love grows by giving!