Loving and Strengthening the Family

Several years back I was deeply saddened upon knowing a beautiful family crumbled and getting separated from each other. The father left the family for another woman, while the wife and children stayed put in their home in Manila. A short while after that, the wife called me for help (I was still active as servant leader of Couples for Christ) when there was fire gutting down their home, and eventually consuming a major part of it. Just months prior to that, Alma and I were witnesses to the blessing of their beautiful home, a picture of a beautiful family or so it seemed then. Any story of a family breaking apart is always a sad thing to tell.

We have been told many times and again, that a strong family makes a strong community. There is no other way to make a society strong except through the strengthening of the family. When its families are weak, a society cannot aspire to be great. It has to start from the core unit before the bigger tribe becomes strong.

The Gospel shares Jesus’ thoughts on the family, “God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife) and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate. Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mk. 10: 6-12)

Great families start from strong husband-and-wife relationships. When bonds are tight, the parents are able to raise confident and emotionally-balanced children. Life’s challenges are easier for the children to overcome. Thus it becomes primordial for the parents, especially the father, to become a God-fearing, loving and caring person to his wife and children. Like in a corporate heirarchy, he is responsible to God for his own family, a mini-Church. (In Fr. Armand’s Code of Champions Seminar, this is one of the more serious highlights of the otherwise fun activity.)

When families break down, even empires fall apart. This is true with the story of the Pritzker family, whose multi-billion empire was broken up due to a family feud. An ugly divorce row among family members, which owns the Hyatt hotel group and a stake in the Royal Carribean cruise fleet, led to the sale of the $20 billion asset it owns in 2006. There are similar stories telling us that its not a laughing matter for families to be breaking apart here and there.

The norms of Heaven may be difficult to follow, but they remain as principles, unchangeable by human precepts. People may compromise, and may appear as the new normal, but that which was created in Heaven still remains the same.

May The Lord grant us the wisdom to find the truth and the humility to accept that which Heaven speaks.

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