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By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 11/27/2016 12:00 AM

As we turn to Chapter 6 of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, ‘The Joy of Love,’ we start to see the theory of the earlier chapters left behind and now a stronger focus on the pastoral situations that are faced in the Church today. This is a long chapter (60 paragraphs long), so I will just be able to hit some of the highlights here and allow you to read the chapter in its entirety.

As has been stressed throughout this document, the Holy Father echoes the statements of the Synod Fathers that ‘Christian families, by the grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony, are the principal agents of the family apostolate, above all through ‘their joy-filled witness as domestic churches.’ (AL 200)” It is in the family that the Gospel to be initially encounter. It is the task of parents to prepare the soil of their children’s hearts to receive the Gospel and have it flourish in their lives. This is certainly no small task, hence the length of this chapter!

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 11/20/2016 12:00 AM
As we turn to chapter 5 of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation ‘The Joy of Love,’ we begin an examination of ‘love made fruitful.’ Our Holy Father begins this chapter with a simple, yet profound statement: ‘Love always gives life. (AL 165)’ Going on to quote St. John Paul II, he expands on this concept in the very heart of conjugal love (the love proper to a husband and wife) does not stop with just the couple, but always expands outwardly.

For a married couple, this begins with the begetting of children and welcoming new life into the world. This first segment is a wonderfully pro-life segment, speaking of the beauty of bringing children into the world, the gift that is new life, and the sacrifices that are often made during a mother’s pregnancy. Yet, there is also this intimacy that exists between a mother and her child, as ‘a mother joins with God to bring forth the miracle of new life. (AL168)’ In his reflections, Pope Francis is really challenging us all, despite the advances of modern medicine, to cherish the mystery that is bringing new life into this world, and how this mystery can bring such joy and happiness into this world. He exhorts: ‘let nothing rob you of the interior joy of motherhood. (AL 171)’ In this, our mothers are a wonderful reflection for us of the love of the Blessed Mother for her Divine Son.
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 11/13/2016 12:00 AM

As we turn to Chapter 4 of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis turns to discuss the topic of ‘Love in Marriage,’ perhaps the school where love is most cherish, but often is it also most challenged. This is a long, and somewhat poetic chapter in which the Holy Father gives a lovely reflection of many years of preparing couples for married life and witnessing the joy and struggles of those families he saw around.

To begin this chapter, the Holy Father reflects on the popular reading for weddings: First Corinthians, chapter 13. In this selection, St. Paul lists the various attributes of love that define Christian marriage: patience, kind, not jealous, not inflated, etc. Pope Francis looks at each of these terms in their original Greek and gives a wonderful pastoral reflection on how that applies to love today. For just one example, under ‘bears all things,’ the Holy Father writes: “Married couples joined in love speak well of each other; they try to show their spouse’s good side, not their weaknesses and faults. In any event, they keep silent rather than speak ill of them. This is not merely a way of acting in front of others; it springs from an interior attitude. (AL 113)”

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 11/6/2016 12:00 AM

As we turn to Chapter Three of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), we turn our gaze to Jesus Christ, ‘who is at the heart of so many love stories.’ (AL 59) This rather brief chapter is a summary of the Church’s teaching on Marriage and Family life. The Holy Father also mentions the discussions among the Synod Fathers as to what light our faith can bring in to the current situation of marriage and family life in the modern world.

Perhaps when looking at what Jesus brings to the Sacramentality of Marriage, our first stop must be the revision He brings to the Mosaic Law regarding the indissolubility of married life in Matthew 19: ‘What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.’ Jesus elevates the call of married life into something more than just a mere partnership between two individuals; in Him, married life is now covenantal, a sign of His love for the Church. As such, Jesus restores this teaching on married life back to the original intention of the Father in the Garden of Eden. Only in Jesus are a married couple able to truly achieve this grace. But we see in his appearance at the Wedding Feast of Cana that He pours out gifts in abundance to those who but ask for it!

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