The Vatican offers a Free PDF resource for the Year of the Family: http://www.laityfamilylife.va/content/dam/laityfamilylife/amoris-laetitia/Brochure/Brochure%20A4_ENG_FlipBook.pdf
FULL TEXT MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE ON-LINE CONFERENCE "OUR DAILY LOVE" FOR THE OPENING OF THE YEAR "FAMIGLIA AMORIS LAETITIA "
Dear brothers and sisters!
I greet all of you who are taking part in the study conference on the theme "Our daily love". My thoughts go in particular to Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, to Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, and to Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, Grand Chancellor of the Giovanni Theological Institute. Paul II for the Sciences of Marriage and the Family.
Five years ago, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia on the beauty and joy of conjugal and family love was promulgated . On this occasion I invited you to experience a year of rereading the Document and reflecting on the theme, until the celebration of the 10th World Day of Families which, God willing, will take place in Rome on June 26, 2022. I am grateful for the initiatives that you have undertaken for this purpose and for the contribution that each of you offers in your field of work.
In this five-year period, Amoris laetitia has traced the beginning of a journey trying to encourage a new pastoral approach towards the reality of the family. The main intention of the Document is to communicate, in a profoundly changed time and culture, that today a new look on the family on the part of the Church is necessary: it is not enough to reaffirm the value and importance of doctrine, if we do not become guardians of the beauty of the family and if we do not take care of its frailties and wounds with compassion.
These two aspects are the heart of every family ministry: the frankness of the evangelical announcement and the tenderness of accompaniment.
On the one hand, in fact, we announce to couples, spouses and families a Word that helps them to grasp the authentic meaning of their union and their love, a sign and image of Trinitarian love and the covenant between Christ and the Church. It is the ever new Word of the Gospel from which every doctrine, including that on the family, can take shape. And it is a demanding Word, which wants to free human relationships from the slavery that often disfigure their face and make them unstable: the dictatorship of emotions, the exaltation of the provisional that discourages commitments for a lifetime, the predominance of individualism, fear of the future. Faced with these difficulties, the church reaffirms to Christian spouses the value of marriage as God's plan, as the fruit of his Grace and as a call to be lived with totality, fidelity and gratuitousness.
On the other hand, this announcement cannot and must never be given from above and from without. The Church is incarnated in historical reality as her Master was, and even when she proclaims the Gospel of the family she does so by immersing herself in real life, knowing closely the daily labors of spouses and parents, their problems, their sufferings, all those small and large situations that weigh down and sometimes hinder their path. This is the concrete context in which daily love is lived. You have entitled your Conference this way: "Our daily love". It is a meaningful choice. It is about the love generated by the simplicity and silent work of a couple's life, by that daily and sometimes tiring commitment carried out by the spouses, by mothers, by fathers, by children. A Gospel that proposes itself as a doctrine descended from above and does not enter the "flesh" of this everyday life, would risk remaining a beautiful theory and, at times, of being experienced as a moral obligation. We are called to accompany, to listen, to bless the journey of families; not only to trace the direction, but to make the journey with them; to enter homes with discretion and with love, to say to spouses: the Church is with you, the Lord is close to you, we want to help you keep the gift you have received.
Proclaiming the Gospel by accompanying people and placing themselves at the service of their happiness: in this way, we can help families to walk in a way that responds to their vocation and mission, aware of the beauty of bonds and their foundation in the love of God the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
When the family lives in the sign of this divine Communion, which I wanted to make explicit in its also existential aspects in Amoris laetitia , then it becomes a living word of the God of Love, spoken to the world and for the world. In fact, the grammar of family relationships - that is, of conjugal, maternity, paternity, filiality and fraternity - is the way through which the language of love is transmitted, which gives meaning to life and human quality to every relationship. It is a language made up not only of words, but also of ways of being, of how we speak, of the looks, gestures, times and spaces of our relationship with others. Spouses know this well, parents and children learn it every day at this school of love which is the family. And in this context, the transmission of the faith between generations also takes place: it passes precisely through the language of good and healthy relationships that are lived in the family every day,
In this time of pandemic, among so many psychological, as well as economic and health discomforts, all this has become evident: family ties have been and still are severely tested, but at the same time they remain the strongest point of reference, support stronger, the irreplaceable garrison for the seal of the entire human and social community.
Let us therefore support the family! Let's defend it from what compromises its beauty. Let us approach this mystery of love with amazement, with discretion and tenderness. And let us commit ourselves to safeguarding his precious and delicate bonds: children, parents, grandparents… These bonds are needed to live and to live well, to make humanity more fraternal.
Therefore, the year dedicated to the family, which begins today, will be a propitious time to carry on the reflection on Amoris laetitia . And for this I thank you from my heart, knowing that the John Paul II Institute can contribute in many ways, in dialogue with other academic and pastoral institutions, to the development of human, spiritual and pastoral attention in support of the family. To the Holy Family of Nazareth I entrust you and your work; and I ask you to do the same for me and my ministry.
Rome, San Giovanni in Laterano, 19 March 2021
Solemnity of St. Joseph, beginning of the Year of the Amoris Laetitia Family