A convention for studies on holiness
An articulate reflection 40 years after the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister
From November 9 to 11, 2022, at the Pontifical Lateran University, the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints and the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences promoted a conference entitled “Models of saintliness and canonizations 40 years on from the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister”. The theme of saintliness was explored from an interdisciplinary perspective and with the intervention of as many as 30 speakers including historians, academics and experts from the Roman Curia. The Undersecretary, Gabriella Gambino, spoke on the theme "Holiness and the Family", first of all highlighting how "the history of the Church is full of examples of holy spouses, holy parents and holy families. What had until recently characterized the foundation of holiness of so many canonized spouses until the 19th century were individual heroic virtues. It was only in the 20th century that renewed theological reflection on marriage led the Church to consider the possibility that the state of being married could itself be the foundation for a 'two-way holiness".
One particularly interesting aspect is that most of these holy families are not known very well throughout much of the world. The reason for this lies mainly in the fact that they were "normal" families, "families next door," as Pope Francis says in Gaudete et Exsultate, who did not do striking or extraordinary things, rather they lived the simplicity of their domestic and daily lives in an extraordinary way. Taking inspiration from the text published by the Dicastery, "Holiness in the Families of the World", through several concrete examples, Gambino went on to show how the holiness of these spouses developed in the normality of family lives that can truly resemble our families of today, with the same problems, the same difficulties, the same desire for love and a serene family life, oriented toward the search for the lasting and essential things, the only things that can make us happy. Of course, one must admit that "the holiness of the couple is not yet part of a common concept and is an aspect that should be further explored by both theological reflection and pastoral action. It is not a matter of proposing approaches that we might call "too high" or for a chosen few, rather of proposing the "sacramentality of conjugal existence" (...). On the practical level of pastoral ministry, (...) the risk we run is that of failing to show [young people] to the fullest what solid love is, that which is rooted in the rock: that would surely be a shortcoming on the part of the Church. (...) Therefore, let us not be afraid to show the holiness of families, where it has been manifested, because - Gambino concluded - it is not the fruit of human heroism that we take on like burdens upon the shoulders of Christian spouses, rather the Love that God pours into those who seek to be faithful to Him".
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