The Call, the Journey and the Mission
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An Invitation from the Bishops of England and Wales to Reflect on the Gift of Marriage and Family Life
In October 2014 bishops and other delegates from around the world met with Pope Francis in Rome for a special gathering called a Synod. The theme for discussion was the Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelisation. A further Synod will take place in October 2015 and the focus then will be on the theme of The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World. In this time between these two Synods, our Holy Father has asked us to spend time reflecting on these themes with “true spiritual discernment.”
What does this mean?
The Church always acts under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Ask for this in your prayer; think about the situation of the family today; pray about the family and ask to know how to strengthen marriage and family life. Above all, pray for your own families, that they may be strengthened in love by the gift of God’s spirit.
Pope Francis on marriage
“Those who celebrate the sacrament say, ‘I promise to be true to you, in joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health; I will love you and honour you all the days of my life.’ At that moment, the couple does not know what will happen, nor what joys and pains await them. They are setting out, like Abraham, on a journey together. And that is what marriage is! Setting out and walking together, hand in hand, putting ourselves in the Lord’s powerful hands. Hand in hand, always and for the rest of your lives. And do not pay attention to this makeshift culture, which can shatter our lives.”
Read and reflect:
We ask you to reflect on the different stages of marriage and family life: falling in love, engagement, the celebration of marriage, the early years; children, joys and sorrows, teenage children, alone as a couple, the elderly years. Prayerfully read and reflect on these scripture stories:
• The faith of Abraham and Sarah (Gen 12:1-9)
• The prayer of Tobias and Sarah (Tobit 8:4-8)
• Mary – the Annunciation and Visitation (Luke 1:26-56)
• The presentation of Jesus in the temple (Luke 2: 22-40)
• The wedding feast of Cana (John 2: 1-12)
• Mary and John at the foot of the cross (John 19.24-27)
• The disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-32)
How do these stories touch your own call, journey and mission as a family?
From Sunday 22nd March you will have the opportunity to respond in writing to various questions which will be given out over a 3 week period.