Thursday, February 23, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 207

207.  I encourage Christian communities to recognize the great benefit that they themselves receive from supporting engaged couples as they grow in love.  As the Italian bishops have observed, those couples are "a valuable resource because, as they sincerely commit themselves to grow in love and self-giving, they can help renew the fabric of the whole ecclesial body.  Their special form of friendship can prove contagious and foster the growth of friendship and fraternity in the Christian community of which they are a part".239  There are a number of legitimate ways to structure programmes of marriage preparation, and each local Church will discern how best to provide a suitable formation without distancing young people from the sacrament.  They do not need to be taught the entire Catechism or overwhelmed with too much information.  here too, "it is not great knowledge, but rather the ability to feel and relish things interiorly that contents and satisfies the soul".240  Quality is more important than quantity, and priority should be given - along with a renewed proclamation of the kerygma - to an attractive and helpful presentation of information that can help couples to live the rest of their lives together "with great courage and generosity".241 Marriage preparation should be a kind of "initiation" to the sacrament of matrimony, providing couples with the help they need to receive the sacrament worthily and to make a solid beginning of life as a family.

239  Italian Bishops' Conference, Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, Orientamenti pastorali sulla preparazione al matrimonio e alla famiglia (22 October 2012), 1.
240  Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, Annotation 2.
241  Ibid., Annotation 5.