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The Church as a Field Hospital: Pastoral Care of the Divorced

Learning from the Joy of Love, article 10 of 10
October 20, 2016

“Families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.” (Amoris Laetitia, 7, hereafter AL)

The previous article in this series considered the Pope’s advice to spouses who experience difficulties that may lead to separation and even divorce.  The main theme of his advice: consider every crisis as an opportunity to say a new “yes, enabling love to be renewed, deepened and inwardly strengthened.” (AL, 238) The Church does not abandon those who face divorce as a possibility, nor those who have already divorced and

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Pastoral Care of the Family Calls for Missionary Conversion

Learning from the Joy of Love, article 9 of 10
September 22, 2016

“Families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.” (Amoris Laetitia, 7, hereafter AL)

The Catholic Church is often accused of offering people an unrealistic set of requirements in her teachings on marriage.  This objection is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the teachings of Christ because it accuses Jesus (and therefore his Church) of being a source of oppression, as though he walked around coercing people to conform to his teachings.  Contrary to this distortion, the Church

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Videos for parents to learn about protecting their kids online

Unfiltered video now available to view online
September 12, 2016

The good people at Covenant Eyes produced an excellent video resource last year titled Unfiltered.  We have been getting the DVD version in the hands of parents and other educators so that they can be well informed about the challenges we face from the increase in the use of technology by young people and the availability of pornography.

Good news! The video

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Life-Giving Love: The Beauty of Being Loved First

Learning from the Joy of Love, article 8 of 10
August 11, 2016

“Families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.” (Amoris Laetitia, 7, hereafter AL)

            New parents who are excited about their yet-to-be-born child have already fallen in love.  Their love is full of hope and trust, without limitations.  This is a great mystery.  Is there any other circumstance where people commit their entire life, resources, and energy to a person or cause without first knowing to whom or to what they will bind themselves?  Perhaps the closest we get to this kind of “blind

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Discovering Joy in Giving and Receiving Love

Learning from the Joy of Love, article 7 of 10
July 21, 2016

“Families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.” (Amoris Laetitia, 7, hereafter AL)

We have all seen marriages with an imbalance between the spouses where one of them does most of the giving and the other is mostly disengaged. These are not usually relationships where there is a lot of joy. Joy can be experienced in two ways. First as a human emotion, an expression of abiding or overwhelming happiness. It also is received as a spiritual gift, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and in this way joy can be shared not only

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Marriage: Icon of God’s Love For Us

Learning from the Joy of Love, article 6 of 10
July 7, 2016

“Families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.” (Amoris Laetitia, 7, hereafter AL)
Following his reflection on the great hymn of 1 Corinthians 13 in The Joy of Love Pope Francis shifts into a discussion of married love, “the love between husband and wife, a love sanctified, enriched and illuminated by the grace of the sacrament of marriage.” (AL, 120) The Catechism tells us that the grace of the sacrament assists spouses to “perfect [their] love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity.” The reason for the love and

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The Christian Ideal in Families is “A Love That Never Gives Up”

Learning from the Joy of Love, article 5 of 10
July 7, 2016

“Families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.” (Amoris Laetitia, 7, hereafter AL)

In my own work I have found that one of the most significant obstacles that the engaged face as they prepare for marriage in the Church is that they find it very difficult to really believe that God loves them.  Of course, most have a vague sense of God’s love from hearing about his love as a child.  Too often it is a superficial understanding that includes reservations about what God really thinks about the mistakes

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The Mission of the Family is to Strengthen and Deepen Love

Learning from the Joy of Love, article 4 of 10
June 23, 2016

What is a family without love? Can it be a family at all? Certainly, a family can exist without love, but how could it not be experienced as a poverty and a tragedy? The vision of life that Christianity proposes to all who will listen has at its core the message of love of God and neighbor. The Christian family is certainly no different and so Pope Francis devotes an entire chapter to a meditation on the famous passage from 1 Corinthians chapter 13, “Love is patient, love is kind…” He stresses that it would be “insufficient to express the Gospel of

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God’s Indulgent Love Meets Real Life

Learning from the Joy of Love, article 3 of 10
June 2, 2016

“Families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.” (Amoris Laetitia, 7, hereafter AL)

Jesus proposed a new dynamic for marriage, one that addresses the real problems families face in maintaining their integrity and unity.  The new dynamic is the cross and the grace it makes available to natural marriage making it a sacrament.  The “Christian family can be fully understood only in the light of the Father’s infinite love revealed in Christ, who gave himself up for our sake and who continues to dwell in our

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Alone No Longer: Marriage, Children and God

Learning from “The Joy of Love”, article 2 of 10
May 19, 2016

“Families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.” (Amoris Laetitia, 7, hereafter AL)

No one in a family should have the experience of being alone and without help.  In his recent exhortation on the family, Pope Francis identifies the problem of solitude experienced by Adam before the creation of Eve and proposes marriage (and the family) as the solution.  He highlights the practical implications of the theological insight that in marriage “the two ‘become one flesh’, both physically and in the union of

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