“The present situation has made me want to accompany with humility, affection and openness each individual, married couple and family in all those situations in which you find yourselves,” said Pope Francis in his letter to married couples for the “Amoris Laetitia Family” year, 2021-2022, released exactly a month ago.
In the letter the Supreme Pontiff says like Abraham, all husbands and wives ‘set out’ from their own land at the moment when, in response to the vocation to conjugal love, they decide to give themselves to each other without reserve. Adding also that spouses need to know that their children – especially the younger ones – are watching them attentively; in them they seek the signs of a strong and reliable love. The Pope said to the parents that being parents calls them to pass on to their children the joy of realizing that they are God’s children.
“To be sure, raising children is no easy task. But let us not forget that they also ‘raise’ us. The family remains the primary environment where education takes place, through small gestures that are more eloquent than words. To educate is above all to accompany the growth process, to be present to children in many different ways, to help them realize that they can always count on their parents.”
The Pope also said marriage, as a vocation, calls the couples to steer a tiny boat – wave-tossed yet sturdy, thanks to the reality of the sacrament – across a sometimes stormy sea, pointing out that, “Only by abandoning yourselves into the Lord’s hands will you be able to do what may seem impossible.”
He noted also the difficulties which were faced by families during the covid-19 lockdowns saying, “For some couples, the enforced living conditions during the quarantine were particularly difficult. Pre-existing problems were aggravated, creating conflicts that in some cases became almost unbearable.” Adding that many even experienced the breakup of a relationship that had to deal with a crisis that they found hard or impossible to manage. He said he would like these families, too, to sense his closeness and his affection.
On this note of marriage and family life, the new liaison bishop for Marriage and Family Life in the SACBC is Bishop Noel Rucastle, the Vice-Chairperson of the Department for Formation, Life and Apostolate of the Laity.
The full letter to married couples can be found here too.