APRIL OVERVIEW: God is Family. God, as Trinity is family and every human family, not only as individuals but as a unit, is an image of God and mirrors the relationship of the Trinity. Pope Francis: Within the family which could be called a domestic church (Lumen Gentium 11) individuals enter upon an ecclesial experience of communion among persons which reflects, through grace, the mystery of the Holy Trinity. AL86.
St Francis in his Canticle of the Creatures, praises God in these words: ”Most High, omnipotent good Lord, to thee be praise and glory, honour and blessing. We praise you Lord for all your creatures, for Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Fire, Sister Water, Mother Earth and all creation. To you O Lord do they belong, you created them and they bear your likeness.” These inanimate creations, through their being, offer their praise. Humankind is especially gifted with the additional power of understanding, to love but also to hurt and to forgive, because of love. Through bearing pain, in a unique way we offer honour and gratitude to the Trinity. And yet, how has the image of the Trinity been disfigured as fire, water and wind have now become such destructive forces? How have we contributed to this? Are we ready to repair the damage?
Pope Francis: The Father is the ultimate source of everything, the loving and self-communicating foundation of all that exists. The Son, his reflection, through whom all things were created united himself to this earth when he was formed in the womb of Mary. The Spirit infinite bond of love is intimately at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways. The world was created by the three persons, acting as a single divine principle. The Trinity has left its mark on all creation. LS 238-239
Setting the Scene. The DAILY THOUGHTS are presented through an imaginary parish family team with other members of the parish council and the parish priest, leading the reflections for parish families, ideally at home, They are usually built around a scripture reading for the day. Those for the Easter Triduum i.e. from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday and for Easter Monday as Family Day in South Africa are from the booklet LOVE IS HIS LAW, LOVE IS HIS WAY and include reflections around St Francis which were the focus during Lent. One of the aims is to create awareness of the encyclicals of Pope Francis on current issues in the Church and the world.
MAY : PARENTS FORM FAMILIES
OVERVIEW: Whether it is a study of botany, biology, human physiology or spirituality the gift of co-creation with God, in nature, should be recognized as one of God’s greatest gifts. It is the male and female in many areas of nature, a man and woman, ideally through a loving committed relationship, who continue God’s creation as well as its sustenance and nurturance.
Parents, human as well as animal, have the task of forming and educating their offspring. This has taken different forms throughout history. An intimate bond is created by parenting figures and their offspring. The ideal of the love of their father and mother for each other too is an important gift to children.
Effective human parenting is amongst the most complex relationships today often because of changing conditions and values. We dare not also forget the human capacity for good and evil seen so clearly in parenting relationships. Unfortunately little training is offered for this all important task.
The gift of a new child entrusted by the Lord to a father and a mother, begins with acceptance, continues with lifelong protection and has as its final goal the joy of eternal life. God allows parents to choose the name by which he himself will call their child for all eternity. AL166.
Only if we devote time to our children, speaking of important things with simplicity and concern and finding healthy ways for them to spend their time will we be able to shield them from harm. Vigilance is always necessary and neglect is never beneficial. Parents have to help prepare their children and adolescents to confront the risks of aggression, abuse or drug addiction. AL 260
SETTING THE SCENE. With the parenting theme for this month some of the THOUGHTS are in the context of a family at home and others in family faith sharing groups. See suggestions for May as Mary’s month.
- SOME SUGGESTIONS TO PROMOTE DEVOTIONS TO OUR LADY IN FAMILIES.
- Pray the Rosary or a decade of the Rosary from time to time.
- Make you own Family Litany of Our Lady, to pray daily or by adding different petitions.
- Say a special, simple prayer e.g. HOLY MARY, MOTHER OF GOD, BE OUR MOTHER TOO, PRAY WITH US AND FOR US IN ALL THAT WE DO.
- Research, collect and share about different images of Mary and her different apparitions.
- Research different prayers and hymns to Mary.
JUNE. Children belong in Families.
OVERVIEW: Birth, childhood and growth through adolescence are the most vibrant stages of life in all of creation, human, animal and plant. We recognise that family relationships do exist too in the animal kingdom. Vigorous growth and regrowth happen in phases that can often be stressful and conflict-filled. However, ideally in a family, the young need, conscious protection, care and support to monitor and direct their youthful energy towards full and responsible maturity.
Pope Francis tells youth: Young people intensely feel the call to love; they dream of meeting the right person with whom they can form a family and build a life together. This is undoubtedly a vocation which God himself makes known to them through their feelings, desires and dreams. CV259.
It is true that the difficulties they experience in their own family can lead the young to ask whether it is worthwhile to start a new family, to be faithful, to be generous. I say that it is worth your every effort to invest in the family, there you will find the best incentives to mature and the greatest joys to experience and share. Don’t let yourselves be led astray by those who propose a life of rampant individualism that in the end leads to isolation and the worst sort of loneliness. CV263,
Young people experience setbacks, disappointments and very painful memories. They feel the hurt of past failures, frustrated desires, experiences of discrimination and injustice, of feeling unloved and unaccepted. There are moral wounds, the burden of past errors and guilt for having made mistakes. Jesus makes his presence felt amongst these crosses and offers them his friendship. CV 83