Many years ago when beginning our introduction of a spirituality of the family I wrote one of my poems that started, “Does God really live in our house, the little one wanted to know? Or does he just live in that place down the road where we go to say our hello? Does God ever sit in his heaven and look down on us here below, and wonder if we really think of him, as we rush in and out, to and fro.”
Each year the MARFAM Year Planner April theme picks up that idea of God and family and develops it during the month, in which we normally celebrate Holy Week and Easter. Those times of course are important days in parishes in church. However, ideally they can also become part of personal and family’s spiritual moments at home, with a focus on our daily family issues, joys and struggles that are being dealt with at the time. We can relate them to the life of Jesus, including the Passion and Resurrection. Some suggestions offered are A Family Prayer Meal, Family Reconciliation Service, Stations of the Cross for Families, remembering our Baptism on Easter Saturday and making an Easter Garden. Download some from http://www.marfam.org.za/lent. The 2022 Holy Week reflections are presented using an imaginative approach from the point of view of the angels, Jesus’ close and loving companions present with him at many times of his life.
As is well-known Pope Francis himself has often preached and written about family spirituality. On one occasion he focused on Jesus as a guest in a home, saying that a guest — any guest, not just Jesus — doesn’t need only to be served and fed. Above all it is necessary that he is listened to.” he said.
At another level in his document Amoris Laetitia (AL) – the Joy of Love, he writes “the spirituality of family love is made up of thousands of small but real gestures. In that variety of gifts and encounters which deepen communion God has his dwelling place.” AL315. Comparing the family to the Trinity he writes, “the triune God is a community of love and the family is its living reflection. God has within himself fatherhood, sonship and the essence of the family, which is love, which in the divine family is the Holy Spirit.” AL 11
In Laudato Si (LS) – on Care for our Common Home, he states that everything is connected. “The world, created according to the divine model, is a web of relationships. The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more as he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures.” LS 240. In describing the importance of ecological education he stresses the great importance of the family, “which is the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected against many attacks. The family is the heart of the culture of life, where we first learn how to show love and respect for life and are taught the proper use of things”.LS 213
Developing this concept of life and life-giving in families, allowed me also to generalise this to promote the concept of “Our World, a Family of Families.” Creation is not static, done once and for all, but has a process of growth and renewal. These are its ecosystems, families, made up of animals and plants, where life is generated constantly in the same way as in human families. That wonderful gifts of sexuality and life are inbuilt in God’s plan of creation.
Listening, listening to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, welcoming all the families of creation, caring for and listening to one another is welcoming God into our home. Let Jesus be our special guest at this time as we share in this journey together with him, experiencing one another’s pain and ultimately our joy. TR Family Weekly 6 April 2022
Find out more about the LAUDATO SI ANIMATOR COURSE. Visit www.laudatosianimators.org