Family life is messy
Married couple addresses the Synod on the Family, and, in the presence of Pope Francis, speaks about "messy families," and of welcoming gays and divorced persons.
"As the Instrumentum Laboris suggests, the domestic church has much to offer the wider Church in its evangelizing role. For example, the Church constantly faces the tension of upholding the truth while expressing compassion and mercy. Families face this tension all the time.
Take homosexuality as an example. Friends of ours were planning their Christmas family gathering when their gay son said he wanted to bring his partner home too. They fully believed in the Church’s teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family. Their response could be summed up in three words, ‘He is our son’.
What a model of evangelization for parishes as they respond to similar situations in their neighbourhood! It is a practical example of what the Instrumentum laboris says concerning the Church’s teaching role and its main mission to let the world know of God’s love.5
In our experience, families, the domestic churches, are often the natural models of the open doors for churches of which Gaudium Evangelii speaks.6
A divorced friend of ours says that sometimes she doesn’t feel fully accepted in her parish. However, she turns up to Mass regularly and uncomplainingly with her children. For the rest of her parish she should be a model of courage and commitment in the face of adversity. From people like her we learn to recognize that we all carry an element of brokenness in our lives. Appreciating our own brokenness helps enormously to reduce our tendency to be judgemental of others which is such a block for evangelisation.
We know an elderly widow who lives with her only son. He is in his forties and has Down syndrome and schizophrenia. She cares for him inspiringly and her only expressed fear is who will care for him when she is no longer able.
Our lives are touched by many such families. These families have a basic understanding of what the Church teaches. They could always benefit from better teaching and programs. However, more than anything they need to be accompanied on their journey, welcomed, have their stories listened to, and, above all, affirmed.
The Instrumentum laboris notes that the beauty of human love mirrors the divine love as recorded in biblical tradition in the prophets. But their family lives were chaotic and full of messy dramas. Yes, family life is ‘messy’. But so is parish, which is the ‘family of families’."
Read the entire address (in English) here:http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/06/0716/03007.html#Testimonianza%20dei coniugi Ron (Romano) e Mavis Pirola (Sydney, Australia)
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