In the long comment to Saint Paul’s Hymn to Charity, which is presented as the magna charta of true love, also between husband and wife and in the family relationships, the Pope underlines in a particular way some “virtues” that characterize it: patience, compassion, amiability, the capability to live with your own and the other’s imperfections; he underlines the necessity of dialogue, of granting trust and forgiveness; he warns us against the temptation of possession and aggressiveness (AL 90-119).
At the end he deals with conjugal charity, a tie rich in nuances: “The love of the friendship type is called ‘charity’ when one understands and appreciates ‘the high value’ that the other has…tenderness…is a manifestation of this love when it manages to get rid of the selfish desire of selfish possession” (AL 127).
Enlightened by the Gospel, conjugal love can become a road towards God for each of the two partners and for both of them together:
“A well-lived family communion is a true way of sanctification in ordinary life and of mystical growth, a means for an intimate union with God…those who have deep spiritual desires shouldn’t feel that the family hinders their growth in the life of the Spirit, but that it is an itinerary that the Lord uses to take them to the summit of mystical union” (AL 316).
Even if one of the two is not a believer:
“…to love your non-believer partner, give him/her happiness, alleviate his/her suffering and share life with him/her, is a true way of sanctification” (AL 128).
(Comment by Jesus Moran at the meeting of the New Family Secretariats held in Castel Gandolfo from 3 to 6 November 2016)