How a marriage strengthens and grows

By David Gibson

Catholic News Service

Marriage is like a crucible. At least Pope Francis appears to think so.

   But how is marriage anything like a crucible in which, for example, metal is melted in order to be remolded into a new shape?

   Actually, Pope Francis compared all of family life to a crucible in his message for the Jan. 1, 2017, World Day of Peace. In an annual message typically devoted to peacemaking and resolving conflicts on the world stage, he included a discussion of family life and marriage.

   It isn’t that the pope thinks marriages and families are like war zones where battles rage endlessly. What he says, on the contrary, is that life at home constitutes a crucible in which people learn skills that a peaceful world requires, skills of caring for others and fostering the reconciliations inevitably needed in human relations.

   “The family is the indispensable crucible in which spouses, parents and children … learn to communicate and to show generous concern for one another, and in which frictions and even conflicts have to be resolved not by force but by dialogue, respect, concern for the good of the other,” Pope Francis wrote.