Common Grounds

The Evangelical Pope | Family? That's What Matters Most!

May 03, 2021

Living Words from John Paul II

Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen


Published Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Evangelical Pope | Family? That's What Matters Most!

Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love


                 … I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love (John 15: 10).


What are these commandments?


First, the commandment of charity: Jesus wants His followers to keep this commandment by loving one another as He loves them. He wants them to remain closely united to one another and his Father in this way.


Even now, Christ calls us to imitate Him, to open up to others and to give away to others, and thus to know the happiness of compelling generosity. He reveals to us the admirable mystery of the Trinity and the infinite love between the divine persons. He invites us to love in the same way, forget ourselves for the other, and not keep the life that God has given us for ourselves, but to give it to the Lord by sharing its many gifts with our neighbor.
The first environment in which one shares in God's love is the family in which one is born and how one lives together and for one another. It is the first environment in which humankind, created in God's image, can experience his likeness with his Creator.
In our times, the family faces much contradiction. Some discredit the family because they believe it restricts freedom. But many appreciate the family. They spontaneously recognize that it is indeed a source of happiness. The opinion polls show this.
Indeed, all families have their limitations and fall short of their high calling. Yet, we know that wounds are carried by those who miss what the family naturally contributes to their human development. The Church is so aware that she does not cease to proclaim the importance of building a solid family, the indissolubility of the marriage bond, and the supreme love expressed in it in body and soul. We have praised the greatness of marriage and responsible parenting and have spelled out the requirements for sound family ethics in line with our tradition.
Let me say in all simplicity to the families in the Netherlands how vital your task is.
               Man's calling is to love and be loved. To better understand this calling, we must return again and again to the word of Christ and of the apostles, who reveal to us the inexhaustible source of love, which is the very life of God.
               To love and to be loved is first discovered in the bosom of a close-knit family. People are welcomed with open arms and do not need to justify their presence, gradually developing one's personality.
               In it, one also discovers that one is not the center of the world. One honors the otherness of knowing others, which is a mutual enrichment.
               One learns to be loved, to love others and oneself.
               In it, one also gains the experience of trial, conflict, and suffering.
The family is an environment in which love can go so far as to "give one's life" out of love, according to the word of Jesus. One can help the other when he [or she] is going through a crisis; heal wounds; discover through good relationships with others what joy gives self-control; and what happiness brings true reconciliation.
Excerpted from (translated from Dutch):
Pastoral Visit to The Netherlands, Holy Mass In Maastricht, Homily Of John Paul II, Tuesday, May 14, 1985.




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