Since “the human person has an inherent social dimension”, and “the first and basic expression of that social dimension of the person is the married couple and the family”, spirituality becomes incarnate in the communion of the family. Hence, those who have deep spiritual aspirations should not feel that the family detracts from their growth in the life of the Spirit, but rather see it as a path which the Lord is using to lead them to the heights of mystical union. — Amoris Laetitia #316 (Pope Francis)
This is my favorite passage in all of Amoris Laetitia. I thought of this today because this time of year tends to bring out the best and the worst in family life, and because I had a conversation with a friend this week that included an amazing insight she said I could quote. She has tons of family issues — addiction, disability, divorce, unemployment, just to name a few. As we talked about these various trials, and the impact they had on her, she said something close to this:
But you know, Tom, I was praying the other day asking Jesus how I was supposed to find Him in all of this mess, as I just could not quiet my soul enough to get into the season and pray deeply. So much yuckiness. I was so incredibly frustrated. Like I wanted to either run from my problems or from God. But on Christmas eve I felt Him say to me, as I sat in the pew with my restless children,
“Child, in the unrest, fighting, turmoil you accompany my Family well in these days. I was conceived amid suspicion, rejection and fear, born homeless, hunted by Herod, welcomed by a massacre and sent into exile in Egypt. My mother and father found me dwelling in the midst of these un-ideal circumstances. Found joy. I chose to begin my life there so I could be closest of all to suffering families. So there, smack dab in the middle of your trials, is where I feel most at home. Welcome me and you will find me. It’s in these tangles that I love to weave my most beautiful tapestries. But you’ll have to wait until the next world to see it finished.”
Is that not stinkin’ awesome?
And, as “Is that not stinkin’ awesome?” is a loose rendering of Mary’s Magnificat, let me leave you with that song about the God who loves tangles: