There are topics that conflict an author with all their might. An inner argument arises… not without humor. There is a tendency to watch yourself argue with yourself. But where is that supposed to lead? Much has already been said about the family by people more competent than I. The longer the occupation with this mountain of aspects and meaning of “family”, the more violently the inner strife develops. Possibly because everything has already been said? Isn’t everything essential on this subject already available? Isn’t the omnipresent threat to this institution just that: omnipresent? And already so, since the very beginning of time? Sunshine and rain are equally part of the weather. It has held up amazingly well, this rock in the surf, whose sharp edges have already inflicted many a wound.
At the request of Pope Francis, we are in the Year of the Family. So many unctuous words will be heard on this subject over the next 12 months. Alas, the family is sacred. I fear that this year will be just another one when little is done to help us understand this profound truth. One will hardly be able to escape the “kind” and “well-intentioned”; just as little as the studies that are supposed to objectify the discourse. Or the petitions with which you can choose to show or demand a position. But it is better to be silent about the countless sermons, most of which will fail.
The family is sacred because it is part of the truth and thus an expression of the absolute. However, one cannot talk about truth and absoluteness by attaching one euphonious phrase to the next. After all, it was Cain who slew Abel. We could speak about all the Cains and Abels of this world. About the blood which soaks the soil. About the inner abyss of each individual, into which one can be pushed unawares. Unfortunately, the impressiveness of this image renders it suitable for making oneself comfortable. In the inevitable discussion forums of such a year, we will again be allowed to listen to many a thing about the human family and world peace. Gratitude is likely to get lost in the shuffle. But the individual is addressed. You are Abel and you are Cain. You made the skull burst and it is your blood that runs into the field. Where does this field come from? Where do you come from? How did your fall come about? Did the edge break on the precipice, or did you jump?
You are thousands of years old and yet at the mercy of Kohelet’s breath of wind. The self-deception of eternally youthful non-commitment would have to be countered by the reference to the certainty of the end. The family is a memorial to society at the end. This explains the great destructive rage from the direction of those who want to overcome the end and enter into a new humanity. The innocent ravings of the protected child and the calm sleepiness of the old man are the great moments of this fragile link between the second cycle and the eternity. May empires and worlds perish in between; as long as families pull their silky shimmering threads through the great darkness, all hope is justified.
The disciples left their families to follow Christ, embodying the sacrifices families make. One may suppose in most cases, the sacrifices come with some level of displeasure to the family structure. To get an idea of it, just ask priests how they and their families were doing when the vocation could no longer be denied. And yet, the inner connection between family, sacrifice, and priesthood has been almost erased in the collective consciousness of the West. A thousand pages could be written about the loss of this connection alone. In general, the family is the place where sacrifice is made. Quite a few are broken by this sacrificial service. The reasons are manifold. Sometimes the victims are the wrong ones, sometimes the sacrifice is wrong. The family’s open flank is not turned outward. It lies within.
It is urgent to reject all the self-proclaimed caretakers and well-intentioned people, who regularly venture out to help the “families in the country”. How do you come to the assumption that this foundation of the world, which is thousands of years old and rooted in the Eternal, only corresponds to the size of your collar? And if you can’t avoid it, you have only one task: to leave the family alone. Be diligent in it. Get rid of everything that is a burden to the family. Do not come up with any new ideas and reduce your influence and that of the third party as much as possible.
Everything else is done by the family, the priests, and – above all – the Victim Who was laid in His mother’s lap on Golgotha when the world was done with Him.