Our contributing author for this month’s refelction, Fr. Aaron Pidel, SJ, is an Assistant Professor of Theology at Marquette University.
Intention: The treasure of families
That any far-reaching decisions of economists and politicians may protect the family as one of the treasures of humanity.
The focus on the August prayer intention reflects Pope Francis’ guiding insight, expressed often in Laudato Si’, that “everything is connected.” The “micro” community of the family and “macro” community of the state depend on each other for their health.
We all know the importance of the family from our own experience. It is there that we first learn how to respect authority, how to play fairly, how to give and receive love—all the basic human virtues and values that equip us for political and religious life. So much of our life’s trajectory, our sense of being at home in the world and in the Church, depends upon families of origin.
Yet the state does not always sufficiently recognize the “treasure” that family life is, providing support in accordance with its importance. In Amoris Laetitia Pope Francis observes, “The negative impact on the social order [on families] is clear, as seen in the demographic crisis, in the difficulty of raising children, in a hesitancy to welcome new life, in a tendency to see older persons as a burden, and in an increase of emotional problems and outbreaks of violence” .
Healing the family, Francis notes, requires the toppling of various ideologies dominating the state. There is the ideology of market logic, which privileges total economic growth over securing those goods that make family life possible for all, e.g., dignified housing and employment for all (Amoris Laetita [43-44]). There is also gender ideology which, by denying sexual difference, no longer accepts the permanent union of man and woman as the most favorable circumstances for raising children (Amoris Laetita ).
Given these challenges, we do well to join the Holy Father this August in praying for the family.
Points for Meditation
How do I imagine the life of the Holy Family—Jesus, Mary and Joseph? How do I allow their values to shape my values regarding money, work, chastity, etc.?
Mark 10: 13-14: And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me . . .”