Thursday, January 19, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 172

The love of a mother and a father

172.  "Children, once born, begin to receive, along with nourishment and care, the spiritual gift of knowing with certainty that they are loved.  This love is shown to them through the gift of their personal name, the sharing of language, looks of love and the brightness of a smile.  In this way, they learn that the beauty of human relationships touches our soul, seeks our freedom, accepts the difference of others, recognizes and respects them as a partner in dialogue...Such is love, and it contains a spark of God's love!"187  Every child has a right to receive love from a mother and a father; both are necessary for a child's integral and harmonious development.  As the Australian Bishops have observed, each of the spouses "contributes in a distinct way to the upbringing of a child.  Respecting a child's dignity means affirming his or her need and natural right to have a mother and a father".188  We are speaking not simply of the love of father and mother as individuals, but also of their mutual love, perceived as the source of one's life and the solid foundation of the family. Without this, a child could become a mere plaything.  Husband and wife, father and mother, both "cooperate with the love of God the Creator, and are, in a certain sense, his interpreters".189  They show their children the  maternal and paternal face of the Lord.  Together they teach the value of reciprocity, of respect for differences and of being able to give and take.  If for some inevitable reason one parent should be lacking, it is important to compensate for this loss, for the sake of the child's healthy growth to maturity. 

187 Catechesis (14 October 2015): L'Osservatore Romano, 15 October 2015, p.8.
188 Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Pastoral Letter Don't Mess with Marriage (24 November 2015), 13.
189 Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 50.