Chapter 8: A Home for the Wounded Heart

World Meeting of Families logoIn preparation for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015 and the visit by Pope Francis, a catechism on family life titled “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” has been prepared. Each month CatholicPhilly.com presents a reflection on one of the 10 chapters of the catechism. Previous monthly reflections are online here.

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Jesus set a high standard for chastity, asking his followers to live differently from the rest of the world. Jesus taught things about sexuality and marriage which we may find difficult to accept and live, both in ancient times and today.

But Jesus asked us to live sacrificially for good reason. Jesus tells us the truth about how to love, and so if we respect marriage vows, practice self-control, and treat each other chastely, communion and freedom of spirit will dawn in our hearts and in our communities.

Of course, we all stumble and sin, hurting ourselves and others in the process. Sin causes profound pain in family life. That is why Pope Francis once famously likened the Church to “a field hospital after battle.” Pope Benedict called each parish a “family of families.”

In our ordinary parish life, each of us fulfills our mission when we bear one another’s burdens and help each other heal the wounds. No one should be lonely or forgotten in a parish.

The Church is a family of those who have encountered Jesus, who confess that he is Lord, who desire his grace to shape their lives, and so help each other respond to him.

Jesus’s way enables patience, forgiveness, and trust, so that we can convert and renew our hearts in ways that would otherwise seem impossible.

Whatever controversies might arise in our culture, whatever others might do or fail to do, Jesus and his sacraments are always with us, and love is always our mission. See this month’s catechism chapter for more details.