Finding “The Joy of Love” during the week of love
February 16, 2017
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Flowers, balloons, and chocolates galore fill the aisles of every store during the month of February, but sometimes the true of meaning of romance and love fall short in the commercialized world.
Hoping to reverse this trend, Pope Francis released an exhortation in September, 2016 titled “Amoris Laetitia,” or “The Joy of Love,” which highlights the Church’s teaching on families, urging Christians to love one another despite the challenges experienced within family lives that might fail to reflect the teaching of the Church.
“In the letter, Pope Francis reiterates the teaching of the church, but he also emphasizes a very pastoral approach to working with families as a reminder that we have to be pastoral,” Cathedral Catholic High School religion teacher Mr. Nick Hurt said. “Families are tough, but we can’t condemn them for anything.
“We are called to listen more and help form families’ consciences.”
The document’s content ranges from biblical and spiritual reflections on the family to practical discussions on love, sexuality and the education of children. In addition, the pope’s writings address the contemporary challenges of unemployment, inadequate housing, migration and violence that have an especially damaging effect on families, according to Cardinal Christopher Schonborn of Vienna.
Within the pages lies deep consideration for members of the Catholic Church to not just re-evaluate, but rethink their judgments toward other people who may choose to live their personal lives in a different way.
Remarks toward people and their lives, including “living in sin” or “irregular situations,” should be replaced with welcoming hearts and inclusion to accompany every person at whatever stage of life’s journey they find themselves, Schonborn said on behalf of Pope Francis’ piece in an interview on Vatican Radio.
This “healthy dose of self-criticism” that Pope Francis speaks of contributes to the crisis of family life existing today. However, changing a perception on members of the Church requires discernment and self-examination.
In every community, particularly in that of the Church, there is room to seek solutions and to find the joy of love despite family difficulties.
“We are part of the Church,” Mr. Hurt said. “We are the field hospital, as Pope Francis says. The faculty are workers in that field hospital, and we should walk with students and help them form their own conscience.”
Despite Pope Francis’ truthful and just statement regarding personal lives, many people find the document overturns traditional Church teaching on marriage and family. However, the Pope’s message encourages people to keep their doors open to the many controversies facing the world.
“He’s not changing the rules,” Mr. Hurt said. “He’s changing the approach to how the rules are taught.”
With many students and Christians facing daily challenges in their family lives, the CCHS community uses Pope Francis’ exhortation to their benefit by ensuring students a safe and open environment to enrich their faith and to find consolation.
“Pope Francis tells us that the Lord especially delights in those who love others,” CCHS math teacher Ms. Christine LaPorte said. “When we learn to be loving towards others and excited about the joy and successes of other people, it creates a culture of love and acceptance towards others.”
“Amoris Laetitia” may face controversies in the future, but the joy of love entitling the document cannot be contained.
Red roses and sweet delights sprinkle love on Valentine’s Day, but to someone else, a smile and lending hand brings greater joy beyond the romantic aspect of the holiday.
“The Gospel goes on to remind us that children are not the property of a family, but have their own lives to lead,” Pope Francis said in the document. “Jesus is a model of obedience to his earthly parents, placing himself under their charge, but he also shows that children’s life decisions and their Christian vocation may demand a parting for the sake of the Kingdom of God.”
Pope Francis’ words encourage the CCHS faculty and staff to support and to walk with one another, spreading love and joy with every footstep.
“When I think about the community, I think that subject matter knowledge is secondary to our primary goal, which is to love the students so much that it leads them to Christ,” Ms. LaPorte said.