From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981):
The family finds in the plan of God the Creator and Redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do. The role that God calls the family to perform in history derives from what the family is; its role represents the dynamic and existential development of what it is. Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored, and that specifies both its dignity and its responsibility: family, become what you are.
Accordingly, the family must go back to the “beginning” of God’s creative act, if it is to attain self-knowledge and self-realization in accordance with the inner truth not only of what it is but also of what it does in history. And since in God’s plan it has been established as an “intimate community of life and love,”44 the family has the mission to become more and more what it is, that is to say, a community of life and love, in an effort that will find fulfillment, as will everything created and redeemed, in the Kingdom of God. Looking at it in such a way as to reach its very roots, we must say that the essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love. Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church His bride.
Every particular task of the family is an expressive and concrete actuation of that fundamental mission. We must therefore go deeper into the unique riches of the family’s mission and probe its contents, which are both manifold and unified.
Thus, with love as its point of departure and making constant reference to it, the recent Synod emphasized four general tasks for the family:
- forming a community of persons;
- serving life;
- participating in the development of society;
- sharing in the life and mission of the Church.
44 Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et spes, 48.
— Familiaris Consortio 16