Sacraments and signs of hope for families

John Paul II spoke about Christ as the vine who nourishes and protects the family. In his Letter to Families (§18) he provides some detail about how the family is nurtured by the sacraments:

Dear brothers and sisters, spouses and parents, this is how the Bridegroom is with you. You know that he is the Good Shepherd. You know who he is, and you know his voice. You know where he is leading you, and how he strives to give you pastures where you can find life and find it in abundance. You know how he withstands the marauding wolves, and is ever ready to rescue his sheep: every husband and wife, every son and daughter, every member of your families. You know that he, as the Good Shepherd, is prepared to lay down his own life for his flock (cf. Jn 10:11). He leads you by paths which are not the steep and treacherous paths of many of today’s ideologies, and he repeats to today’s world the fullness of truth . . .

Do not be afraid of the risks! God’s strength is always far more powerful than your difficulties! Immeasurably greater than the evil at work in the world is the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which the Fathers of the Church rightly called a “second Baptism”. Much more influential than the corruption present in the world is the divine power of the Sacrament of Confirmation, which brings Baptism to its maturity. And incomparably greater than all is the power of the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is truly a wondrous sacrament. In it Christ has given us himself as food and drink, as a source of saving power. He has left himself to us that we might have life and have it in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10): the life which is in him and which he has shared with us by the gift of the Spirit in rising from the dead on the third day. The life that comes from Christ is a life for us. It is for you, dear husbands and wives, parents and families! Did Jesus not institute the Eucharist in a family-like setting during the Last Supper? When you meet for meals and are together in harmony, Christ is close to you. And he is Emmanuel, God with us, in an even greater way whenever you approach the table of the Eucharist.

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