Core values for a Catholic family
All the members of a Catholic family must believe that the love of Christ is more powerful than any adversary.
By Joe Palathunkal
Second Vatican Council says: “The family has received from God its mission to be the first and vital cell of society.” This is the universal stand and outlook of the Catholic Church regarding a Catholic family. The Council makes it clear that family gets its mission to be the basic and vital unit of the society from God and, therefore, it is a divine mission. To fulfill this mission, every Catholic family needs to have certain core values.
Every Catholic family must be Jesus-centred and Jesus-leading family. In several homes we come across the words – Jesus is the Head of this family. Being head does not mean merely a protector and care-taker but rather the leader who guides and takes forward in every respect. Not only that for a Catholic family Jesus must be the centre and therefore, it must be firmly rooted in the vision of Jesus or the Kingdom values like love, sharing, togetherness, fairness, and so on.
Ours must be a Eucharistic life where Holy Mass or Holy Eucharist must have a central and prominent place. It must be a source from which we draw our vitality and energy spiritually and psychologically. It has been the case for saints and martyrs and it must be the case for every Catholic family also. But it should not be a mere ritual observation but a real one and our family must reflect the Eucharistic values of love, sharing, and self sacrifice.
And therefore, Catholic family must turn into a table of brotherhood or human solidarity. Our value must be loving sharing with mutual respect. Members of the family in any trying circumstance must not give up love and the spirit of sharing, and that should be taken up as a challenge coming from the fact of being a Catholic. Never give up mutual respect. Then only we will realize the mission I mentioned in the beginning. The Council says: “It will fulfill this mission if it shows itself to be the domestic sanctuary of the Church through the mutual affection of its members and the common prayer they offer to God…”
That brings us to another value of the family. We have heard several times that a family that prays together, stays together. A Catholic family should never ignore the family prayer, of the whole family sitting together and praying at least once a day. Holy Spirit definitely will work wonders in such a family, and make the word of God as an integral part of the prayer, especially a reading from one of the gospels where words of Jesus figure prominently.
Sacramental life must have a dominant place for a Catholic family. Researches and studies have proved that sacramental practice has therapeutic value because human infirmity is psycho-somatic, and that is why before healing Jesus said to the paralyzed man – your sins are forgiven. If confession is looked upon as a sacrament of healing, it will have a lot of therapeutic impact on the person.
The central aspect of these core values is love and therefore, the love incarnate Jesus Christ. Hold on to these values, then every Catholic family will be enriched, strengthened and empowered.
All the members of a Catholic family must believe that the love of Christ is more powerful than any adversary and the famous encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” (God is Love) of Pope Benedict XVI proves it very clearly. What we need today is a value based healthy and strong Catholic family, and such a family will never disintegrate and go into disarray. If we have such Catholic families, Catholic Church can face any challenges the 21st century throws before it.
(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living In Faith)
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