Theme – Self-Giving Love
The form of marital and family love is given by God himself, who is love. The Christian family, the domestic church, has been entrusted with the irreplaceable vocation of being the first school of human and divine love.
From an article by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori
Parents have, or should have, a unique relationship with their children. They have been called by God to love their child with the same faithful, self-giving love in which the child was conceived. … To be sure, the notion of “self-giving love” is not an idealistic or naive concept dreamed up by theologians. It is demanding and sacrificial. Self-giving love has its source in the Trinity and is revealed most fully by Jesus on the Cross. It requires what Pope Francis calls “an exodus from self” so that we might focus on the needs of others, even when that causes disruption in our lives. ...
Most fundamentally, teaching children the “art of living” involves lessons of faith and character. Parents teach children their first prayers, bring them to Mass on Sunday, and help them develop a basic sense of right and wrong coupled with a sense of responsibility. They also teach gratitude and generosity by helping their children learn to take care of their possessions; to not always expect to have the latest and best of everything; and to grow in the habit of sharing what they have with others. Moreover, parents help their children learn to handle life’s inevitable disappointments, including the invidious comparisons that are part of the highly competitive and materialistic culture in which we live. Such lessons are best learned at home, in an atmosphere of respect and love. ...
As Pope Francis said, “Parents are called … not only to bring children into the world but also to bring them to God” (Lumen Fidei, 43).
- What do we learn from our family? Have we learned “the art of living”? If so, of what does this “art of living” consist?
- What is self-giving love?
- How have we learned about self-giving love from our family?
Scripture Reading - Psalm 119:1-3, 9-12, 33-38, 105-108
A prayer to God, the Lawgiver
Blessed those whose way is blameless,
who walk by the law of the LORD.
Blessed those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with all their heart.
They do no wrong;
they walk in his ways.
How can the young keep his way without fault?
Only by observing your words.
With all my heart I seek you;
do not let me stray from your commandments.
In my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.
LORD, teach me the way of your statutes;
I shall keep them with care.
Give me understanding to keep your law,
to observe it with all my heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for that is my delight.
Direct my heart toward your testimonies
and away from gain.
Avert my eyes from what is worthless;
by your way give me life.
For your servant, fulfill your promise
made to those who fear you.
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light for my path.
I make a solemn vow
to observe your righteous judgments.
I am very much afflicted, LORD;
give me life in accord with your word.
Accept my freely offered praise;
LORD, teach me your judgments.
An important part of love consists in doing things out of love for others, even things that we may find unpleasant. To encourage these little sacrifices, research and make sacrifice beads (also known as “good deed beads”), inspired by a practice that St. Therese of the Child Jesus used to do when she was a child. Sacrifice beads are essentially a way of helping the family look for opportunities to make little offerings of love to God through small acts of self-giving service.