In order to graduate with my Masters in Theology this upcoming May, I am required to take a full day of comprehensive exams, which cover some of the classes I have taken. One of the possible exam questions is drawn from my Family Catechesis course, wherein we had to study the nature of the family as God intends it to be in the light of Jesus Christ and his grace. One of the documents I have had to read is Familiaris Consortio, which is an apostolic exhortation written by Pope John Paul II subtitled The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World. Below, I have included quotes from this document that spoke deeply to my heart as I reviewed this incredible exhortation to live out the vocation of marriage and family in the light, grace, and truth of Jesus Christ. “[T]here frequently lies a corruption of the idea and the experience of freedom, conceived not as a capacity for realizing the truth of God's plan for marriage and the family, but as an autonomous power of self-affirmation, often against others, for one's own selfish well-being ... This shows that history is not simply fixed progression towards what is better, but rather an event of freedom, and even a struggle between freedoms that are in mutual conflict, that is according to the well-known expression of Saint Augustine, a conflict between two loves: the love of God to the point of disregarding self, and the love of self to the point of disregarding God" (FC 6). “Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. As an incarnate spirit, that is a soul, which expresses itself in a body and a body informed by an immortal spirit, man is called to love in his unified totality. Love includes the human body, and the body is made a sharer in spiritual love ... Consequently, sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is by no means something purely biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and a woman commit themselves totally to one another until death" (FC 11). “Indeed, by means of baptism, man and woman are definitively placed within the new and eternal covenant, in the spousal covenant of Christ and the Church. And it is because of this indestructible insertion that the intimate community of conjugal life and love, founded by the Creator, is elevated and assumed into the spousal charity of Christ, sustained and enriched by his redeeming power. By virtue of the sacramentality of their marriage, spouses are bound to one another in the most profoundly indissoluble manner. Their belonging to each other is the real representation, by means of the sacramental sign, of the very relationship of Christ with the Church. Spouses are therefore the permanent reminder to the Church of what happened on the Cross; they are for one another and for the children witness to the salvation in which the sacrament makes them sharers" (FC 13). “When marriage is not esteemed, neither can consecrated virginity or celibacy exist; when human sexuality is not regarded as a great value given by the Creator, the renunciation of it for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven loses its meaning. Rightly indeed does Saint John Chrysostom say: 'Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be particularly good. It is something better than what is admitted to be good that is the most excellent good' (On Virginity 10)" (FC 16). If anyone has a favorite book on marriage and the family, I encourage you to include a quote on this thread in the hope that it will help inspire one another to see marriage and family in the light of Christ rather than in the fallen world that we live in apart from the power of grace.