What is a family? The Catholic family is often refered to as a Domestic Church. A family is in and of itself a community of people. As a community families grow together spiritually and share their faith with each other. They also pray together and love each other unconditionally. Just as within the Church most families experience hurt and brokeness from time to time, but ultimately are called to forgiveness and reconcilition with each other. As long as God is the center of the family these things are possible. Sadly enough just as with the Church occassionally some members schism or leave the family. Usually it is because they have put themselves and their needs before that of God. Maybe the child who wants to be his own person, or is filled with anger, or wants to rebel against his parents. Maybe it is the Husband or Wife who is bored, wants to find something better, or simply just has fallen out of love. We can find hope throughout scripture, and with the power of prayer. We must stand and defend the family in our society. Our greatest weapon is prayer.
The following are some beutiful exerpts of what it is to be a family, which are from "Familiaris Consortio The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World":
All members of the family, each according to his or her own gift, have the grace and responsibility of building, day by day, the communion of persons, making the family "a school of deeper humanity" (59) : this happens where there is care and love for the little ones, the sick, the aged; where there is mutual service every day; when there is a sharing of goods, of joys and of sorrows.
The first communion is the one which is established and which develops between husband and wife: by virtue of the covenant of married life, the man and woman "are no longer two but one flesh" (46) and they are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving.
Conjugal communion is characterized not only by its unity but also by its indissolubility: "As a mutual gift of two persons, this intimate union, as well as the good of children, imposes total fidelity on the spouses and argues for an unbreakable oneness between them."
Being rooted in the personal and total self-giving of the couple, and being required by the good of the children, the indissolubility of marriage finds its ultimate truth in the plan that God has manifested in His revelation: He wills and He communicates the indissolubility of marriage as a fruit, a sign and a requirement of the absolutely faithful love that God has for man and that the Lord Jesus has for the Church.
The gift of the sacrament is at the same time a vocation and commandment for the Christian spouses, that they may remain faithful to each other forever, beyond every trial and difficulty, in generous obedience to the holy will of the Lord: "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
Love for his wife as mother of their children and love for the children themselves are for the man the natural way of understanding and fulfilling his own fatherhood.
You can read more of Familiaris Consortio at http://www.domestic-church.com/index.dir/index_basedocs.htm
The following links are to some great websites that are really great resources for family and the domestic church: