From Milan: Families Ask and the Pope Responds: An Interview with Benedict XVI
can be seen that the passage from falling in love to engagement and then to marriage demands different decisions, interior experiences. As I have said, this sentiment of love is beautiful, but it must be purified, it must become part of a journey of discernment, which means that reason and will must also enter in; there must be a union of reason, sentiment, and will.
In the rite of marriage, the Church does not say: "Are you in love?" but "Do you want?" "Are you determined?" That is: falling in love must become true love by involving the will in a journey, which is that of engagement, of purification, of greater profundity, such that really the whole man, with all of his capacities, with the discernment of reason, the power of will, says: "Yes, this is my life."
I often think of the wedding of Cana. The first wine is wonderful: it is being in love. But it does not last to the end: a second wine must come, it must ferment and grow, mature. A definitive love that really becomes "second wine: is more wonderful, better than the first wine. And we must seek this.
And here it is also important that the I not be isolated, the I and the you, but that the parish community also be involved, the Church, friends. This, all just personalization, the communion of life with others, with families that support each other, is very important, and only in this way, in this involvement of the community, of friends, of the Church, of the faith, of God himself, does a wine grow that endures forever. Best wishes to you!
Q: Your Holiness, as in the rest of the world, in our Brazil as well the failures of marriage continue to increase. My name is Maria Marta, he is Manoel Angelo. We have been married for 34 years and are already grandparents. As physician and family psychotherapist we meet so many families, noting in the conflicts of couples a more distinct difficulty in forgiving and accepting forgiveness, but in different cases we have encountered the desire and will to construct a new union, something lasting, including for the children who are born from the new union. Some of these remarried couples would like to approach the Church again, but when they are denied the sacraments their disappointment is great. They feel excluded, marked by a decision without appeal. These great sufferings wound deeply those who are involved; lacerations that also become part of the world, and are also our wounds, and of all humanity. Holy Father, we know that these situations and these persons are very close to the Church's heart: what words and what signs of hope can we give them?
A: Dear friends, thank you for your work of psychotherapy for families, which is very necessary. Thank you for all that you do to help these suffering persons. In reality, this problem of the divorced and remarried is one of the the great sufferings of the Church of today. And we do not have simple recipes. The suffering is great, and we can only help the parishes and individuals to help these persons to endure the suffering of this divorce.
I would say that prevention, of course, is very important, which means deepening the sense of being in love right from the beginning into a profound, mature decision; moreover, accompaniment during marriage, so that families are never alone but are really accompanied on their journey.
And then, as for these persons, we must say - as you have said - that the Church loves them, but they must see and feel this love. It seems to me a great task for a parish, for a Catholic community, to make it really possible for them to feel that they are loved and accepted, that they are not "outside" even if they cannot receive absolution and the Eucharist: they must see that even in this way they live fully in the Church.
Perhaps, if absolution in the confessional is not possible, nonetheless a permanent contact with a priest, with a guide of the soul, is very important so that they may see that they are accompanied, guided.
Then it is also very important that they feel that the Eucharist is true and participated in if they really enter into communion with the body of Christ. Even without the "corporal" reception of the sacrament, we can be spiritually united with Christ in his body.
And making this understood is important. That they really find the possibility of living a life of faith, with the Word of God, with the communion of the Church, and may see that their suffering is a gift for the Church, because in this way they also serve everyone in defending the stability of love, of marriage; and that this suffering is not only a physical and psychological torment, but is also suffering in the community of the Church for the great values of our faith. I think that their suffering, if it is really accepted internally, is a gift for the Church. They must know that precisely in this way they are serving the Church, they are in the heart of the Church. Thank you for your commitment.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Milan, World Meeting of families, marriage, family, divorde, Pope Benedict XVI
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