Feeling at Home
Feeling at home
From July 1-9 the Fifth World Meeting of Families was held in Valencia, Spain on the theme: The transmission of faith in the family”. It was a great appointment of faith and of celebration that involved thousands of men, women and young people who had come from throughout the whole world. The event was a reason for marvel in the secular press and arouses enthusiasm and gratitude in millions of persons, both believers and non- believers, who strongly believe in the family. The presence of Benedict XVI during some of the days emphasized the importance of the family as cradle of life and of love, and the value that the Church attributes to it, so that it may carry out the plan of God and respond to the profound expectations of the person: to find warmth, welcome and the freedom to be one’s self. We need to feel at home!
This year, the Salesian Family is committed to assuring special attention to the family (cfr Strenna of the Rector Major).
Family today is spoken of in many ways and in many contexts. The means of communications deal with it daily, frequently with violent attacks against the concept itself, offering various alternative forms of living together. This is why there is much ambivalence and confusion that undermine the very protagonists, parents and children.
An attentive analysis of the family crisis was recently made in the document Family and Human Procreation published in early June by the Pontifical Council for the Family. In it we read: “The family is inborn in the person and was instituted by God. However, today, the person has become an enigma for self and lives the most acute crisis of all history in his/her family dimension. More than ever before, the family is the object of attacks. The new models of union destroy it; the techniques of procreation completely exclude human love. The politics of birth control lead to a real “demographic winter”.
The confusion lived by many today could also reflect on our educating communities and our very lives. What family model can we carry out in community? Is there a valid reference to continue to speak of family spirit, an element that has characterized our Institute from the time of its origins?
In one of the well-known articles of the Constitutions which perhaps has always fascinated us, we can point out in a clear manner the motivations, the requirements of the family spirit, “a creative force of the heart of Don Bosco that must characterize our community and the commitment of all” (Const. 50).
The picture dealt with in this and other articles on our fraternal life are not out of style. In effect, it is difficult to think of alternative ways to build in community a climate of trust, of joy, one that involves young people and those who live with us. We need a community where each person may experience a communion of life that also becomes a response to the intimate needs of the human heart and makes it available to apostolic donation” (Const 49).
We are deeply aware of the desire to feel at home in our communities, of “regaining the authenticity and transparency of human relationships” (Circular 876), especially when we assist at or experience their prevalent functionality. Together with the young people, with parents, with the laity and with those who share our mission, we may offer concrete gestures so that our houses continue to witness that it is possible to live the intuitions of Don Bosco and Maria Domenica Mazzarello…Even in the third millennium