Words of John Paul II:
The love which the Apostle Paul celebrates in the First Letter to the Corinthians—the love which is “patient” and “kind”, and “endures all things” (1 Cor 13:4, 7)—is certainly a demanding love. But this is precisely the source of its beauty: by the very fact that it is demanding, it builds up the true good of man and allows it to radiate to others.
Love is true when it creates the good of persons and of communities; it creates that good and gives it to others. Only the one who is able to be demanding with himself in the name of love can also demand love from others. Nowadays people need to rediscover this demanding love, for it is the truly firm foundation of the family, a foundation able to “endure all things”.
The hymn to love in the First Letter to the Corinthians remains the Magna Charta of the civilization of love. In this concept, what is important is acceptance of the understanding of man as a person who “finds himself” by making a sincere gift of self. A gift is, obviously, “for others”: this is the most important dimension of the civilization of love.
The love of spouses and parents has the capacity to cure these kinds of wounds, provided the dangers alluded to do not deprive it of its regenerative force, which is so beneficial and wholesome a thing for human communities. This capacity depends on the divine grace of forgiveness and reconciliation, which always ensures the spiritual energy to begin anew. For this very reason family members need to encounter Christ in the Church through the wonderful Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.
In this context, we can realize how important prayer is with families and for families, in particular for those threatened by division. We need to pray that married couples will love their vocation, even when the road becomes difficult, or the paths become narrow, uphill and seemingly insuperable; we need to pray that, even then, they will be faithful to their covenant with God.
The commandment “honor your father and your mother” indirectly tells parents: Honor your sons and your daughters. They deserve this because they are alive, because they are who they are, and this is true from the first moment of their conception. The fourth commandment then, by expressing the intimate bonds uniting the family, highlights the basis of its inner unity.
In the first place, the family achieves the good of “being together”. This is the good par excellence of marriage (hence its indissolubility) and of the family community.
Yes, the civilization of love is possible; it is not a utopia. But it is only possible by a constant and ready reference to the “Father from whom all fatherhood 1 on earth is named” (cf. Eph 3:14-15), from whom every human family comes.
Almighty God, we give thanks to you for your great gift to the Church of Christ in the person of John Paul II, whom we will call Blessed in a very short while. May his teachings enlighten our minds, may he transform our doubts into faith, may he form our families in love, and may the example of his life and his love for the Savior, which we desire to imitate, bring all of us into closer union with you. We ask this through your Son, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
Glory Be to the Father….