Retrospective look, challenges for the future: "Three loves founded three families" (5/11)

The Christian family is in a way a small version of Church community for any baptized Christian; It is the point of reference for any young person regarding education in the faith. The family is a small believing community, a domestic Church, where faith is received and takes root.
Fabián Martín Gómez Pastoral | 2019 Apr 11 | Fabián Martín Gómez, augustinian recollect

Three types of love formed three types of family: love centered on selfish self-interest to the extent of using others, gave rise to the sensual, possessive, jealous and aggressive family; the love for others in the interest of selfish benefits, generated the family of convenience, willing to give but very demanding from others, it reproaches and demands according to one´s own needs; and the love of God putting aside one's own needs to be at service of others, originates the family of blessings.


The sensual family lets itself go by its impulses and its motivation is anything it has an appetite for. The family of convenience seeks to associate but to benefit from certain services. It may seem positive that it promotes communal living but it’s only to pursue their own interests. On the other hand, the family of blessing is based on the free acceptance of God’s calling to live being a gift to others, finding true happiness in serving others selflessly.

Each family type is organized to carry out its purposes. In the sensual family, the logic that runs its actions is "I have rights”, and it’s easy for them to tag everything as their own because they deserve it. Relationships in this family style is a struggle to subdue each other and everything around them. The looks of control dominate the environment together with tightly closed fists to avoid sharing. Impulsive and aggressive reactions take place, and only what is interesting, or flattering is heard; in the sensual family each one does what he/she wants according to one’s desires.

The family of convenience allows its members to organize themselves according to their projects, purposes and objectives, making resources available to find effective ways to achieve them. If you manage to be an effective family, the personal satisfaction of each individual is achieved. In fact, the degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of these family members is conditioned by the fulfillment or not of their goals. The family of convenience is functional, practical, efficient, but ... as a counterpart, it has to deal with being overly demanding, stressful and good dose of anxiety, competitiveness, struggle for relevance and a constant subtle envy. The members of this family style, faced with problems and failures, end up by themselves in the midst of danger.

The family of blessings or the self-giving family, is organized in a way in which their relationships are based on the recognition and value of the other for who he/she is, with a dignity based on being a child of God. The spirit that gives life to this family type is their trust in God’s love towards his children, and this is what really makes us brothers, children, parents, grandparents, uncles ... The love moving in this family creates solid and durable bonds. Members care for one another, they try to understand each other, they show mercy and forgiveness.

It may seem a bit too cloying to talk about the family being this way, but it’s not at all. I often meet people in parish groups who ask me: How can we help young people to have a life-changing encounter with Christ? And my answer is: Always "love them". Let me explain; if you do not care for someone for being who they are and for their own good and growth - whether it be a child, an adolescent, a young person or adult –it’s difficult to help, accompany, support in times of need. Let us all acknowledge that the privileged space to love others for who they are is the family home; that is, the relationships of affection between the members of a family.

The Conclusive Document of the Synod concerning the youth mentions the centrality of the family, the small Church or domestic Church, in the transmission, accompaniment and education in the faith. On the other hand, the local Church, the Christian community, is there as auxiliary support to this important task of the Christian family that cannot be delegated. To make young people experience the beauty of the experience of faith, "it is urgent to rethink in depth the approach of catechesis and the link between the transmission of faith in the family and the community, based on the processes of personal accompaniment".

Para los obispos y los jóvenes que intervinieron en el sínodo “la familia sigue siendo el principal punto de referencia para los mismos jóvenes. Ellos aprecian el amor y el cuidado de sus padres, se preocupan por los lazos familiares y esperan tener éxito en formar una familia a su vez”. En las concusiones del sínodo se dejan ven cómo la muchas dificultades por las que atraviesan actualmente la familias –separaciones, divorcios, segundas uniones, familias monoparentales, etc., – desafían a la comunidad cristiana en el valor del testimonio de la propia vocación que forma una familia, para que aliente decisiones valientes entre los jóvenes en esa misma dirección.

The document presents 4 guidelines to recreating the Christian family with clarity in its calling and mission. First, recover the importance of maternity and paternity, that is, do everything possible to have both together in the household; the absence of one does come with its negative consequences. Then it mentions establishing relationships between generations to pass on the culture and values to the future generations, something that must be done especially by the elderly.  

Our youth need cultural roots to live the present with passion and being hopeful for the future; without roots, the present becomes absolute and the future provokes uncertainty and hostility. This can take away all the positive energy from our youth. It is necessary -as the document mentions- “to help the youth in discovering the richness of the past; remembering it and using it to make better choices and view greater possibilities, it is a true act of love toward them considering their development and future decisions”. Finally, recognition is given to friendship amongst equals because the youth need to share life’s adventures with other youth.

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