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This week, the 10th World Meeting of Families took place in Rome. The theme of the gathering this year was 'FAMILY LOVE - A VOCATION AND PATH TO HOLINESS'. The following are extracts from resources available at:

Vocation as a calling

The term vocation comes from the Latin verb vocare whose meaning is to call. For each person, God’s first calling is to become His children through the Sacrament of Baptism. Some people who are baptized are called to give their lives to God through consecration as priests or religious; others are called to give themselves to the Lord through the Sacrament of Matrimony. Married life, therefore, is also a vocation, that is, a call from God

We are called

One of the most frequent habits that parents have regarding their children is that of calling them. They do it to wake them up in the morning, to find out where they are, to urge them to fulfill their duties, to show them their love.

Pretending not to hear someone who is calling us is a strategy with which we are all quite familiar. It corresponds to the specific desire of not wanting to get involved with the person who is calling us. In fact, being called by someone conveys a clear message. Someone, who knows we exist, is taking an interest in our lives. We can accept or even reject this call to establish a relationship.

God calls us by name

A passage from St. Paul reveals to us that all of us are called, each of us is known and called upon by God the Father: ‘He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our saviour Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel». (2 Tim 1:9-10). God has called us before time began. People call us by the name given to us by our parents. God himself calls us by that name.

When reading the Bible, on several occasions, it is obvious that God continually calls men and women in various ways to establish a relationship with Him and to welcome Him into their lives. Today the Father calls us to follow Jesus, because through Him we are given a life in which death is conquered by Christ; a life that, regardless of all the difficulties, is worth living because it leads towards eternal life. With the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit, we can respond to God’s calling, which is unique to each of us.

Matrimony is a response to a calling

Through the Sacrament of Matrimony, a husband and wife are answering to a calling that God has made to them. That calling entails loving as He loves.

However, the yes pronounced on their wedding day by the bride and groom clashes every day with the effort of loving each other despite all their fragility and weaknesses. This means that the call to Love can only be sustained by the grace of Christ. This requires that the spouses continually welcome this Grace which, received daily, enables them to gradually learn, with tenacious perseverance and humble patience, to love one another and to love as Jesus loves. It is comforting to know that, despite the normal hardships and inevitable moments of difficulty, the presence of Christ remains of essential support and incomparable comfort. His voice, conveyed through the Word, never ceases to call, to console and encourage as we continue on our way.

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