Holy Father's Lenten Message: Be Concerned for Each Other

Station 6

-- Pope Benedict XVI's Lenten message to the world offers us an important reflection toward the imperative of building a marriage culture. In Stand with Children, we are focusing on what we are for and why, rather than what we are against. He drew on Hebrews 10:24, "Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works."

So the verb (concern), which introduces our exhortation tells us to look at others, first of all at Jesus, to be concerned for one another, and not to remain isolated and indifferent to the fate of our brothers and sisters. All too often, however, our attitude is just the opposite: an indifference and disinterest born of selfishness and masked as a respect for "privacy".... The great commandment of love for one another demands that we acknowledge our responsibility towards those who, like ourselves, are creatures and children of God. Being brothers and sisters in humanity and, in many cases, also in the faith, should help us to recognize in others a true alter ego, infinitely loved by the Lord. If we cultivate this way of seeing others as our brothers and sisters, solidarity, justice, mercy, and compassion will naturally well up in our hearts. The Servant of God Pope Paul VI stated that the world today is suffering above all from a lack of brotherhood: "Human society is sorely ill. The cause is not so much the depletion of natural resources, nor their monopolistic control by a privileged few; it is rather the weakening of brotherly ties between individuals and nations" (Populorum Progressio, 66).

Concern for others entails desiring what is good for them from every point of view: physical, moral, and spiritual. Contemporary culture seems to have lost the sense of good and evil, yet there is a real need to reaffirm that good does exist and will prevail, because God is "generous and acts generously" (Psalms 119:68). The good is whatever gives, protects, and promotes life, brotherhood, and communion. Responsibility towards others thus means desiring and working for the good of others, in the hope that they too will become receptive to goodness and its demands.

Through the past six weeks of Lent, many Stand with Children Faith & Action Circles have been reading and reflecting on passages from two Church documents -- the Lineamenta which proposes a plan of action for the New Evangelization, and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church which provides insight into the unique role and importance of the family. We have gained great insights into our vocation as laity, particularly as families, and the practicality of evangelizing culture through our lived experience as family.

More than merely a "lifestyle choice", family is the place in which is taught "concern" for others, first within the family, then in solidarity with other families and, through its social calling, toward direct involvement in society, working toward justice and defending the rights of all children and families.

One Circle participant commented, "I used to think my sole job as a parent was to make sure that my kids were good and knew God. I thought that if I did this, my job would be done. Now I realize that is just the beginning. It is part of our vocation as a family to look to the entire human community and share with them what we know about love, family, and communion of persons. In other words, to evangelize through our life as a family."

During the Triduum and throughout the Easter Season, let us reflect on the words of our Holy Father. How can we more effectively answer his call for concern of others? How can we more effectively evangelize the culture through our vocation as laity and as families?

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