… The family! Today there is a head-on attack against the family, and the situation seems to be getting worse. The family is threatened, if not destroyed by the decline of traditional moral values, by theoretical and practical materialism, by the hedonistic mentality that grows out of consumerism. And this happens to such an extent that many people are forced to ask: does the family have any meaning, how important is it?
Sociologists, educators, politicians and moralists could offer their opinions. I believe that we Christians are interested above all in trying to understand God’s idea of the family, what importance God gives it.
A few basic thoughts will suffice to understand this. First of all, God created the human race with the formation of a family. And when the Word of God came on earth, he willed to be born in a family. Jesus began his public life during the celebration of a new family. God had the family so much at heart, considered it to be of such importance, to impress on it his own image. In fact, the family reflects God’s very own life, the life of the Holy Trinity. This is sufficient to say what the family means to God.
What was God’s plan for the family? God who is love, thought of the family as an intertwining of relationships of love: nuptial love between the couple, maternal and paternal love for the children, filial love for the parents, the love of grandparents for their grandchildren, of the grandchildren for their grandparents, of children for their uncles and aunts and vice versa. The family is therefore a treasure chest, a jewel, and a mystery of love.
This is how God imagined and how he created the family. And the Son, in redeeming the world, turned this natural love, with which the members of the family are impregnated, into something sublime through the divine love he brought on earth, through the fire that he wants to burn everywhere. Through him, the family has become not only the primary cell of humanity created by God, but also the basic cell of the Church founded by the Son. Because of the supernatural love that the members of the family have for one another through baptism and the other sacraments, particularly the sacrament of matrimony, they are called individually and collectively to the sublime heights of making the family a small church, an “ecclesiola”.
… Thus the evangelization of the young, of the world’s future, depends largely on the “domestic church”, the family.
(Source: Castel Gandolfo, April 8, 1989 – Congress on the Family and Society: The family centred on God is open to all humanity)