By Sarah Mac Donald - 02 November, 2015
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has described the family as a special place of communion, sanctity and evangelisation as he criticised the lack of sermons stressing how the daily love of spouses is the foundation of their holiness.
Celebrating All Saints at the Pro Cathedral, the Archbishop said the Communion of Saints is a link with those who have gone before us, but also those who are beside us.
“It demands that we become saints to those around us – our children, our spouses, our community, our society – showing what it means to be the Church, what it means to witness to the love and the mercy of God revealed in Jesus Christ,” he said.
The Archbishop said families evangelise through being active in the wider Church community.
They also evangelise within their own four walls, through the mutual love of the spouses, through their love of their children, through enabling their children to learn affectivity and generosity and faithfulness and prayerfulness, which will be the foundation later for their own personal and family life.
He criticised the lack of sermons on how the responsible sexual love of husband and wife can be an expression of communication and tenderness and intimacy and often of reconciliation and forgiveness, thus sharing in and reflecting the tender love of God.
“Very rarely are parents reminded of how their constant and patient love of their children and their self-giving for them are building blocks of holiness,” he said.
“Very rarely are we reminded that even in our failures to love we can come to a better understanding of what being poor in spirit and pure in heart really mean.”
The Archbishop, who attended the Synod on the Family in Rome with the Archbishop of Armagh, said that rather than a language of condemnation, Pope Francis had called for a new language which stresses the freedom of the children of God.
The Pontiff was calling on families to learn to witness to “the beauty of Christian Newness” even in the face of a message which has become at times “encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible”.
Pope Francis was stressing the language of mercy, Dr Martin said, and he strongly criticised those in the Church who have “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families”.
The Eucharist, Archbishop Martin said on Sunday, is the place where Church community is formed.
“Eucharist is the food which nourishes us. Eucharist is the place where we are brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit, into that deeper unity of the one Body of Christ, and with the Father who is the source of all holiness.”