I have a secret…papal documents scare me… even though I’ve been in Catholic schools for my entire education. I have a B.S. in nursing, not theology, so I never bothered to try and read papal documents as I thought I wouldn’t be able to understand them.
That all changed when I started attending Young Adult events 4 years ago. I was exposed to two different papal documents: Lumen Gentium during Faith & Sports Night, and St. Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Women during a women’s group. Walking through these documents with my peers I realized they were way more accessible than I thought! Since then I’ve read Humanae Vitae and several shorter documents related to theology of the body and the meaning of beauty.
When Pope Francis released “The Joy of Love” (Amoris Laetitia) this spring I became very interested in reading it, but I knew with its 250 page length I didn’t want to do this alone! I also wanted to bring this to other young adults.
Why do you need to read this Apostolic Exhortation? Here are 3 reasons:
1.For Our World! According to Pope St. John Paul II, ““As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Could that better describe our world?! If you want to look at what is most sacred, look at what is most profaned. The degradation of the family is pervasive in our world. It’s up to us to spread the joy of love!
2.For Our Own Education! Have you heard people at work talking about the Catholic Church’s stance on any number of family issues and not known what to say? Or how about the man behind you at Caribou who notices your miraculous medal and starts a conversation and attacks any number of issues. Do you know what to say? I normally don’t. There is so much misinformation out there about the Catholic Church’s view on family issues. We need to be educated. This document gives us the information we need to educate and bring the good news to others.
3.For Our Families!
I just read through Chapter 2 about the challenges of the family. As a single woman I’m guilty at times of idolizing my future family. I don’t think about the challenges. I don’t think about forming myself today for my future. This document helps me work on my future role as wife and mother. Whatever your vocation is, you need to be prepared to face the good along with the challenges!
About the Author:
Jenny Helms is a Pediatric R.N. at Mayo. She’s active in the Rochester Catholic community, and lives at the young women’s house. This summer, she’s leading a study on Amoris Laetitia, on Wednesday nights. For more information, please refer to the Rochester Catholic Update, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.