Every year the Church in Canada sets aside one week as a special time for prayer and reflection on life and the family. During this year of Mercy, it is particularly appropriate that we turn our attention to the privileged role of the family as the first and most important school of mercy – the place where parents sustained by God’s grace, are meant to become icons of Divine Mercy.
As followers of Christ, each of us—whatever our vocation—is called to imitate Him in His self-giving merciful love. Yet we can only give away that which we have received. It is God’s will that the family be the place where we first encounter unconditional love. Nevertheless, no family is perfect! Only by cultivating an intimate relationship with Christ in prayer and the sacraments, can our weaknesses be healed and our shortcomings overcome, so that we can become the loving and merciful spouses, parents and friends that the Lord calls us to be and on which the future wellbeing of humanity depends. Pope Francis invites us, “Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth . . .”
Recent developments in our country relative to the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide reveal the degree to which we are suffering from a “failure to love” and the very real urgency of our calling. Sadly, many of our contemporaries appear to believe that some lives are simply not worth living. It is difficult to imagine any person who feels loved and wanted drawing such a conclusion or choosing to end life prematurely. As long as we live we can both give and receive love. Let us recall the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”
Many ask: “What kind of a world are we bequeathing our children?” Let us rather ask: “What kind of children are we bequeathing to our world?” Reflecting on the state of our society, it is time for each of us to ask ourselves, “Have I loved well enough?” If I have failed to love as Christ bids me perhaps it is only because I have failed to draw from the transforming and merciful love that flows freely from His heart.
During this year’s Week for Life and the Family let us turn to the Lord with confidence and ask him to make our homes and families schools of His merciful love. Let us not forget that with the Lord’s help, all things are possible!