Family Prayer

by Pope John Paul II

Prayer makes the Son of God present among us: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).

It is significant that precisely in and through prayer, man comes to discover in a very simple and yet profound way his own unique subjectivity: in prayer the human “I” more easily perceives the depth of what it means to be a person.

This is also true of the family, which is not only the basic “cell” of society, but also possesses a particular subjectivity of its own. This subjectivity finds its first and fundamental confirmation, and is strengthened, precisely when the members of the family meet in the common invocation: “Our Father.”

Prayer increases the strength and spiritual unity of the family, helping the family to partake of God's own “strength.” In the solemn nuptial blessing during the Rite of Marriage, the celebrant calls upon the Lord in these words: “Pour out upon them the grace of the Holy Spirit so that by your love poured into their hearts they will remain faithful in the marriage covenant.”

This visitation of the Holy Spirit gives rise to the inner strength of families, as well as the power capable of uniting them in love and truth.

This section is excerpted from Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Families (1994).

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