The Canadian Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) has published its 2014 Message to families entitled, "Families, Christ calls us to sow joy and hope!"
The message started by noting that every child is willed and loved by God and that the family is at the center of human life. In a family a child discovers what it is to be loved and accepted and children learn how to communicate.
Their parents convey to children the values of life. “If parents have made the Gospel the rule of their family life, they will form the conscience and the intelligence of their children in the light of faith. Gradually, children will come to understand that they are called to use their talents to serve others, in love and in truth.”
It is more urgent than ever, the message continued, to form disciples and witnesses to Christ within the family. The formation of good habits, regular attendance at Mass, and prayer as a family are vital elements in bringing this about.
Our own families, along with those of our neigbors and those recently arrived in the community provide many opportunities to practice Christian charity, the message added.
It specifically mentioned the problem of poverty: material, moral and spiritual. In the materially poor we can see Christ’s face and do what we can to ensure that human dignity is respected.
Equally of concern is moral poverty, where sin and vice flourish. “How much pain is
caused in families because one of their members –often a young person – is in thrall to alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography! How many people no longer see meaning in life or prospects for the future, how many have lost hope!”
Spiritual destitution can occur when we turn our backs on God and reject his love, the message explained.
“If we think we don’t need God who reaches out to us in Christ, because we believe
we can make do on our own, we are headed for a fall. God alone can truly save and free us.”
Another theme in the message related to human dignity and the end of life. Illness or disability does not take away our human dignity. “We all have the power to respond to the illness of others in friendship, love and solidarity; we can support and protect their “right to life” until the time of natural death.”
The message went on to deal with the pressure to allow euthanasia and warned that we should resist the temptation to become a “throwaway culture.”
“Isn’t it time to stop viewing old age as a problem, and older people as a burden?,” the message asked.
“Loyalty, patience, openness to life, and respect for the elderly – these are all characteristics which make the Christian family “good news” for our society.”
Full text of message: http://www.colf.ca/images/pubs-downloads/FAM-022-E.pdf