“Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness” is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the next World Meeting of Families which will take place in Rome from 23 to 27 June 2021. On the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and three years after the promulgation of Gaudete et Exsultate, the aim is to emphasise family love as a vocation and a way to holiness, and to understand and share the profound and redeeming significance of family relationships in daily life. To this end, the Meeting proposes a rereading of Amoris Laetitia in the light of the call to holiness spoken of in Gaudete et Exsultate.
Conjugal and family love reveals the precious gift of a life together where communion is nourished and a culture of individualism, consumption and waste is averted: “The aesthetic experience of love is expressed in that ‘gaze’ which contemplates other persons as ends in themselves” (AL 128), and at the same time recognises in other people their sacred family identity as a husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, grandfather or grandmother.
As marriage and family shape a concrete experience of love, they demonstrate the great significance of human relationships in which joys and struggles are shared in the unfolding of daily life as people are led towards an encounter with God. This journey, when lived with fidelity and perseverance, strengthens love and enables the vocation to holiness that is possessed by each individual person and expressed in conjugal and family relationships. In this sense, Christian family life is a vocation and a way to holiness, an expression of the “most attractive face of the Church” (GE 9).