The Joy of Love
Chapter 1, Part 1
Through the Holy Spirit, your family can be an icon of God
Jesus said “Love one another as I have loved you ….”
Welcome to the journey of discovering more about love — God’s radical love for us, and in this course in particular, God’s radical love expressed in the context of marriage and family life. The joy of love is found in knowing the reality of this radical level of love.
This video course is not for everybody. It’s designed for those who have a real desire to grow stronger in the truth and make a bigger difference in the world as a result of this growth.
Our world needs every Catholic (and other Christians, too) to understand the vocation of marriage and family life very well, because with understanding comes a better ability to live it. If our Church were full of families living out their vocation in the fullness that God has in mind, the whole world would be changed by it.
Everyone taking this course has experienced some kind of pain in family life. However, this is not a course for healing. Other Paracletia courses are very useful for healing. If you need to be ministered to, then be sure to watch the archived courses.
If you are willing to minister to others, if you want to take your marriage and family life to a higher level of holiness and thus serve as a testimony to others about God’s plan for marriage and family, this course on Pope Francis’ The Joy of Love will be useful in gaining a better understanding of your vocation.
To understand this vocation, we have to first look at a vocation as the fulfillment of the calling to continue the mission of Christ. How are couples and families empowered to do this mission?
We cannot give what we do not have. Only God can love us fully. This is the key to fully experiencing the joy of love that Pope Francis writes about. To better understand how much God loves us, we need to understand who we are to God. We need to be aware of experiencing God’s “radical” love every day.
Radical love is the root of all successful living. It’s what heals our wounds, our broken hearts, and our embattled relationships, and then we are called to minister to others. Radical love motivates us to overcome the trials we face, and it motivates us to serve others with the same love. Radical love is what takes us to heaven, and on the way it evangelize the people around us.
Only through faith can marriages survive as an icon of God’s radical, faithful, enduring expression of love. The keys that unlock the power of faith are hope and love. Hope is the fuel that energizes our faith; love is the wheel that drives faith forward.
To begin this course, let us lay at the feet of Christ all that we have done and all that is in us that fails to be an icon of God’s love. Pray the following song as you listen to it and let the words sink deeply into you, inspiring you as the Holy Spirit energizes your heart.
And now, let us enter into The Joy of Love!
* First, a word of caution: This video is best understood in context with the whole of Chapter One. For example, in saying that the family is to be an icon of God by including children, this is not addressing the pain of couples who have tried to conceive or carry a child to term but were unable to. Their suffering is acknowledged elsewhere in the book.
Another example: The term “icon” is not meant to imply worship of anyone but the Lord who is represented by the couple and by the family. It is our hope that this video will inspire the reading of the entire book, which will clear up any misunderstandings caused by my all-too-brief comments about it.
Reflect on the ways that your own family has been an icon of God. How is this a sign of the Holy Spirit in your family relationships? If you are willing to share this publicly, email me your answer to be posted here as a testimony; it will help others discover God’s radical love.
(Private comments and questions may also be emailed to me during the weeks that this is a live, interactive course.)
Different reflection questions for couples are available from our blog on the Vocation of Marriage, in a post entitled “How to be an icon of God“.
Chapter 1, Part 2 >>>