A broken family
"Dealings under the firm of Dombey and son: wholesale, retail and export" (Dombey & son): is the full and meaningful title of one of the saddest stories of the brilliant novelist Charles Dickens. Mr. Paul Dombey lives with the obsessive pretension of prestige based on his social renown and the success of his company. He subordinates all the members of his family to this egomaniacal intention, to the point of becoming lamentably incapable of loving, causing serious wounds in the people around him -in his daughter Florence, in his wife Edith- and in himself.
Only when his life and his family are broken and ruined will he recognize his grave mistakes. In the end, after much suffering, the compassion and boundless tenderness of his daughter will be able to offer comfort and peace to her father and his wife.
Dombey and son
The art of accompaniment
Pope Francis states in the exhortation Amoris laetitiae that "the Church must accompany with attention and care her most fragile children, marked by wounded and misplaced love, giving them confidence and hope again, like the light of a harbor lighthouse or of a torch carried among the people to enlighten those who have lost their way or are in the midst of the storm". (AL, n. 291).
The Church is mother, teacher and educator, and also acts as a house of health and "....field hospital. Evangelizing action refers mainly to the construction and rehabilitation of individuals and communities, with the many tools that the Lord has left us so that we may have abundant life.
The accompaniment personal and ecclesial constitutes a art and a virtue. It requires the acquisition of a set of human and Christian skills: knowledge, wisdom, love, prudence, trust, humility, faith, hope, patience, etc. Like all helping relationships, pastoral care requires recognition of the dignity of each person, for no one should be discriminated against because of his or her condition or behavior. To accompany means to be at the side of those who sufferto take charge of their situation, of their ruptures, of their yearnings.
The normal gradual in the stages of growth, healing and reconstruction. In this gradual process of human and Christian maturation, the aim is to ensure that individuals come to discover and accept -by themselves, with the help of the Holy Spirit. the light of revealed truthThe goal of pastoral accompaniment is to help them understand the meaning of self-giving and fidelity as something that is within each one of them: the dreamed realization of their marriage and family project, the divine promise hidden in their deepest desires. The goal of pastoral accompaniment consists in integrate in the full life of Jesus and his Church, by means of a path or process of purification, formation and sanctification.
The following are to be to offer concrete and effective support. It is essential that people find all the ecclesial support to rebuild their lives according to the Gospel: various groups of faith life and pastors who are approachable, cordial, with a human and supernatural sense; Christian families who are welcoming and open; Church centers specialized in family care. It is a question of walk a pathThe person in need of human and ecclesial help, step by step, including, when necessary, the specialized attention of professionals in psychology, law, medicine, social assistance, etc., who possess the right ecclesial criteria.
The true love, described in the beautiful Pauline hymn to charity (cf. 1 Cor 12,31-13,13), it appears as fundamental key to interpretation of evangelizing action in the area of marriage and the family (cf. AL89-119). The true mercy leads to a life according to the Christian covenantThe rights and duties arising from personal and family identity and status.
Pedagogy of grace
The moral law, inscribed in the conscience, taught in the Gospel and handed down by the Church, is a don of God that shows the way to the fullness of life. Indeed, with the help of grace the commandments can be observed, whose summit is the new mandate of Christian love. Evangelization must embrace the greatness of man redeemed in Christ, called to holiness in every state and circumstance of life. For this reason, it is necessary to affirm: "It is possible tobecause this is what the Gospel demands" (cf. AL, 102).
Francis proposes the formula of giving "small steps" in the "path of grace and growth". Little by little, the person who prays, listens to the Word of God, lives in the Christian community, exercises the works of charity and mercy, is formed in the faith of the Church, etc., comes to understand the truth of the Gospel as good news, becomes capable of living it, grows in desire for communion, and becomes attuned to the mind of Christ and to his heart.
This process consists in leading gently, as on an inclined plane, towards virtuous connaturality with the good. The situation of the concrete person must be taken into account; the person must be accompanied - to use a simile - in the ascent of the steps towards a higher life; the Christian's path must be made pleasant; the attractiveness and joy of the evangelical life must be shown. This pastoral form constitutes an authentic human and Christian pedagogy.
Evangelizing families, bearers of hope
It is the whole Church that which accompanies people in precarious family situations. The always valid pastoral formula proposed by St. Paul consists of exercising "charity in truth". (cf. Eph 4:15). People who have suffered family breakdown should be helped to be convinced that their life, with its concrete circumstances, is also a space of grace, a history of love and salvation: that they can do much good by remaining firm in the faith in the position they occupy; that their perseverance is a reference point and a treasure for their children and for the whole Church; that their pain is salvific and fruitful; that they can improve; that the hope human and supernatural can always be reborn.