A reflection that is clearly centered on the charism of unity and that, for the way it develops, could be defined transversal with some keys of interpretation, among which the most important one is the charism of unity. It’s obvious that Jesus underlines some aspects, leaving out others, with some constant ways of thinking of theological, pastoral and moral nature.
We have elaborated a synthesis, which doesn’t try to express the richness of the document but which offers some keys for reading for a deeper understanding of Pope Francis’ thought, hoping that by enriching our thought, it may, above all, be transformed into life and witnessing.
In the text Jesus Moran quotes some paragraphs of AL that, for the transversality of the reflection don’t follow one another in the sequence of Francis’ exhortation.
As a first fundamental element, we can underline the positive tone of the Exhortation, in line with the other apostolic exhortation of November 2013: Evangelii Gaudium (the joy of the Gospel). Joy is in fact one of the characteristic notes of the new document. In it, the Pope didn’t want only to face some of the great problems of the family today in the world, but above all he wanted us to fall in love with it again, as the great gift of God to the Humanity of all times. In this sense, Pope Francis introduces himself as the apostle of the Gospel of the family (AL, chapter VI), who announces the great news: through human love, God reveals something of himself to humanity.“… the Gospel of the family is joy that fills the heart and the entire life because in Christ we are freed from sin, from sadness, from interior emptiness, from isolation” (AL 200).
“…Marriage is a precious sign, because when a man and a woman celebrate the sacrament of marriage, God, so to speak, ‘reflects’ himself in them, He impresses in them His own features and the indelible character of His love. Marriage is the icon of God’s love for us. God too, in fact, is communion: the three Persons of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit have lived forever and ever in perfect unity. And it is just this the mystery of Marriage: God makes of husband and wife one existence” (AL 121).
A novelty is the place reserved to Mary. Usually, in the documents of the Church, she appears toward the end, almost like an ornament of which one can do without.Here on the contrary she is placed at the beginning, at number 30:
“… families – the Pope writes – are invited to contemplate the Child and his Mother…Like Mary, they are exhorted to live with courage and serenity their family challenges, the sad ones and the exciting ones, and jealously meditate in their heart the wonders of God (see Luca 2, 19.51). In the treasure of Mary’s heart there are also all the events of each one of our families, that She watches over with great care. Therefore, she can help us to interpret them in order to recognize God’s message in our family history”.
Mary, we well know, is always a figure of tenderness, love and joy.