Family Synod ’14 – “Inventive Charity” and Three Hopes for the Family

by Fr Duncan McVicar on 11/10/2014 -

What’s going on in the Synod? Here are some of the things you can hear: Participants spoke about the need for the Church to listen more to laypeople in the search for solutions to the problems of families, especially in relation to the sphere of intimacy in the life of couples. There is also the need to adequately and permanently prepare priests in relation to themes regarding the family, especially in relation to openness to life, so that they are able to explain and speak naturally and clearly about conjugal love. It was also noted that if natural family planning is explained in depth, highlighting its positive worth, it can strengthen the life of the couple. The various comments shed light on the importance of testimony: the young do not need theory, but they clearly understand the centrality of the family if it is demonstrated by families themselves, credible witnesses and subjects of evangelisation. A couple gave a wonderful testimony – Olivier and Xristilla Roussy from France. Amongst other things, they said: “After the arrival of our third child, Xristilla was exhausted. So we decided that Xristilla should take a contraceptive pill for some months. The choice of contraception was supposed to calm us down; it had the opposite effect. We lived that period very badly. Xristilla was often in a bad mood, desire was absent and joy disappeared. In truth, we had the impression of no longer being ourselves. We were not united. We understood that we had closed a door to the Lord in our conjugal life. So we decided to take up again Natural Family Planning. It was seemingly a more difficult way that invited us to be continent during fertile periods at the same time that we desired more strongly to unite ourselves. It is often hard to accept and to choose it each time. However, we live it together. It is a joint adventure that pushes us to want the happiness of the other. Much more than a method, this way of life enables us to receive one another each day, to communicate, to know one another, to await one another, to have confidence, to be delicate. We chose this way, we do not suffer it, and we are profoundly happy despite the efforts it requires… We are very happy that God is at the heart of our life, including our conjugal intimacy. We decided to live it under His gaze. This availability opens us to the will of God in all the dimensions of our life. In our mission as parents, we want first of all to awaken our children to holiness. Like all of us, they are faced with the many temptations of the world and, humbly, we try to make them grow up in liberty and generosity, to have them learn a sense of discernment, of decision and of effort. We help them to build their plan of life under God’s gaze. In the difficult pace of modern life, we seek to be attentive to each one and to give them sufficient time, together and personally. By simple and direct testimonies, and concrete teachings, we propose an art of Christian living, showing that sexuality and fertility can be lived in God’s plan and not in the consumerist and egoistic logic of the world. With audacity and charity, accepting the pastoral law of gradualness, we propose to each one to walk towards Christ, according to the step they can take each day. The love of Christ urges us on the path of an inventive charity. Hospitality, accompaniment and fraternal life: are these not today the essential keys for the evangelization of families? Archbishop Kurtz, Head of US Bishops, expressed his three hopes for the future: “My three hopes: one of them is to restore confidence that people can be be successful in having a fruitful marriage and having a wonderful family, and not be, in a sense, at the mercy of statistics. People yearn for that sense of hope. It’s a sign that the grace of Christ is alive. My second one is my hope that the beauty of the teachings of Christ, as conveyed over the centuries by the Church, will be given a new hearing. It’s not so much we want to explain. We want to show. And people, they don’t want long explanations, but they want to be shown especially by example, and so whether it is in art and architecture or newspaper counts or the beauty of the sacraments, people want to be inspired. By the beauty of the Church and the beauty of love, of love and marriage, and in the family, and love in friendships. And then my third would be something that I know is very dear to the heart of Pope Francis and that is we accompany people, who are struggling. Every one of us is in a family that struggles. Everyone needs that sense of accompanying them and helping them in what I would call the process of conversion. So those are my three hopes.”


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