- The fundamental cell of society and the church (Vatican II)
- The sanctuary of life (John Paul II)
- The domestic church (Vatican II, John Paul II)
- The first and indispensable teacher of peace (Pope Benedict XVI)
The Family Mirrors...
Though imperfectly, a communion of life and love shared and enjoyed by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Father gives all of himself to the Son in begetting. The Son receives all that makes him who he is from the Father and in his response to this fatherly love pours himself completely in a filial way. Then the union and love that they share is such a living, dynamic, concrete and fruitful reality that the union itself is another Person. The third Person, who is the Holy Spirit, bursts forth from the love shared by the Father and the Son.
The Church uses this analogy of the family to help us understand the mystery of the Trinitarian communion; husband and wife love each other and bind themselves in a marital union.
The fruitfulness of their love is so abundant
The fruitfulness of their love is so abundant that it brings out a birth of the third. The Church, though, cautions us against taking this analogy simplistically. Begetting and procession do not happen in a chronological way as in human dimension. Time also is God’s creation. In God this begetting and procession happen always and already. We can have a glimpse of the reality which we will understand fully when we see God face to face, but is difficult to grasp now.
John Paul II Urges
“Family, become what you are; the family has a mission to become more and more what it is, that is to say, a communion of love and life” (Familiaris Consortio 17). John Paul II encourages us to know our identity and become more and more who we are.
...the world will come to see the Trinitarian communion of love and life in a tangible way in a Christian family...
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
“The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a domestic church. It is a community of faith, hope and charity; It assumes singular importance in the Church, as it is evident in the New Testament” (CCC 2204).
The Church came to define, during the Second Vatican Council, that the family is the smallest instance of the Church. This means that the family is the most intimate experience of the Church where a new human person is loved into being, accepted into the world and receives in the power of the Holy Spirit the basic discipleship in being a person in a relationship of love and trust with God and others.
“There is a need to encourage shared spiritual moments such as participating in the Eucharist on Sundays and Holy Days, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, daily prayer in the family and practical signs of charity. This will strengthen fidelity in marriage and unity in families. In such a family setting it will not be difficult for children to discover a vocation of service in the community and the Church, and to learn, especially by seeing the example of their parents, that family life is a way to realize the universal call to holiness” (JPII, The Church in America).