In the Pope’s letter Familiaris Consortio, John Paul explains that the Church must be vitally concerned for the pastoral care of the family beginning with the spousal family of husband and wife. It is here, at the core of the life of the family that we find also the seeds of the Church which is the Spouse of Christ.
It is not easy for husbands and wives to build and nurture a family in these hard times. Difficult decisions have to be made about securing a lifestyle that is practical and sensible. Many times, there are no support systems to help them build a secure and safe environment in which to stabilize a good network of family and friends. Societal expectations and peer pressure present options for couples that do not support the unity of the family or communion with the Church.
Without a good foundation, many temptations and a lack of direction can lead to confusion, a loss of commitment and an unwillingness to persevere in what can appear to be an impossible task.
For those who know the pain of failure in marriage; for those who know the loneliness of bringing up a family on their own; and for those who suffer tragedy and illness, we should be make them conscious and aware of our support and encouragement for them.
We should help direct them in the work of marriage, filling them with hope and explaining how to attain real joy the midst of daily labor. Couples who have lived the marital sacrament for many years can teach younger couples how love solidifies a family; how through thick or thin children can grow in the family of the Church and how prayer, the Eucharist and Confession, works for fathers and mothers and husbands and wives.
In effect, together, we can help younger families become real sharers of the Gospel. We can show them how to become true worshippers in the parish, committed to building up the community and becoming servants of those less fortunate, all for the love of Jesus.