Love gives, love gives life. Love gives families life. Is love required to give life? Does tradition matter? Some points for reflections. MARFAM’S Family Year Planner’s monthly themes have broad relevance to daily life. January’s theme was Family Beginnings. February’s theme is Love gives Families Life. Everyone knows it is a month of love, but there can be a deeper spiritual meaning than the romantic aspect which is most prominent at this time. We also say that “Love is a decision” not only a feeling.” That is significant for the relational aspect of love. The saying “Love gives families life” is comprehensive and includes many of the other aspects, practical, psychological and spiritual. The overview below that accompanies the year planner incorporates various of these aspects and can be included in programmes and used for personal, family and community catechesis.
FEBRUARY OVERVIEW. Love gives life. God, the creator, is a lover and it is the love of God, as Trinity, that is life-giving, creating life continually, sustaining and renewing what has been created. Our task and gift as human beings and life-givers is co-creation with God and in particular in the nurturing and caring for children in our families. By its nature, of total and lifelong commitment, marriage is the ideal love relationship. Love of nature and creation is also a means of sustaining life in its various forms. God’s indulgent love always accompanies our human journey; through grace it heals and transforms hardened hearts, leading them back to the beginning through the way of the cross. The Gospels clearly present the example of Jesus who proclaimed the meaning of marriage as the fullness of revelation that restores God’s original plan. (cf Mt 13:3) AL62.
Our human life-giving task is to nurture life in all its stages from conception until natural death. However, we know from experience how vulnerable life and love can be. Dare we say that love is necessary for life? When there is no sincere, genuine self-giving love expressed as a deep concern for others in our families and for the common good, life does continue, but not “to the full” as Jesus said. “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10.
Loving human relationships of commitment and care are mirrored and carried forward in care for creation. However, caring for trees and rhinos and yet rejecting unborn human life and the needs of the destitute and poor is not fully lifegiving. Every creature is the object of the Father’s tenderness. Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of God’s love and in its few seconds of existence God enfolds it with his affection. LS 77.
Two of Pope Francis’ most recent documents in 2015 and 2016 incorporate this thinking. In Amoris Laetitia/The Joy of Love he focuses on the human family and in a specific way on marriage, while in Laudato Si/ On Care of our Common Home he focuses on all of creation. An Amoris Laetitia year begun in 2021 continues until June 2022 when it will end with the Tenth WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES in Rome. For more information visit www.laityfamilylife.va/content/dam/laityfamilylife/amoris-laetitia.
In preparation for the meeting the Dicastery in Rome has published a series of 10 videos in which the Holy Father, with interviewed families, unpack Amoris Laetitia’s chapters. Video 6 on the chapter FRUITFUL LOVE begins with the words of the Holy Father, “Love always gives life. Spousal love is not exhausted within the couple, but generates a family. Each new life ‘allows us to appreciate the utterly gratuitous, freely given, dimension of love, which never ceases to amaze us. It is the beauty of being loved first: children are loved even before they arrive’. Here we see a reflection of the primacy of the love of God, who always takes the initiative”. AL 166.
Achieving this ideal of life-giving love is the task of families, surely of every family in nature, each in their own unique way. Throughout history cultures have celebrated this mystery in many traditional ways. The feastday on 2 February of the Presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple by Mary and Joseph was in accordance with the Jewish tradition of the time. TR FAMILY WEEKLY 2 FEBRUARY.
Many of the resources, including detailed brochures for the Amoris Laetitia year and the X World Meeting of Families, can be accessed through the website. http://www.laityfamilylife.va/content/dam/laityfamilylife/amoris-laetitia and
TR FAMILY MATTERS WEEKLY 2 FEBRUARY 2022