RMG – Building a family, in the rituals of every day

27 June 2017

(ANS - Rome) – "A life-long love begins again every day." Here is the essence of love, the essence that Fr A.M. Carré condensed into a single maxim that he would always repeat to couples during their wedding cerimony: "spouses forever, remaining engaged." And how do you manage to stay loyal to your spouse a whole lifetime? Through love in the rituals of every day: by a kiss, a greeting, a hug and a thousand gestures that are rituals and that should never become routine. The Rector Major in the Strenna for 2017 invites building a family through the rituals of every day, by living "a love that is faithful, everlasting and open to life."

Eating together around the same table is a family ritual, just as a romantic weekend is for the couple.

Rituals contribute to reinforce the bonds that unite people and sometimes to create others that are more stable within the family.  Family bonds risk being weakened by the frenetic pace of today’s world where nothing seems stable and certain.  Thus families can safeguard their union only if all the members really have the intention of making the effort to keep the rituals and traditions of consolidation.  These contribute to creating a sense of identity and bonds among the members who find in the family nucleus security and a guarantee of stable affection.

Like routine actions, rituals are repeated to the extent that they become foreseeable.  Each one knows what to expect and what their responsibilities are.

However, there is an important difference: rituals in comparison to routines have a very strong symbolic meaning for the family.

Dressing in the morning is a routine.  Greeting your partner or child with a kiss before leaving the house is a ritual.  This is because, contrary to the routine of getting dressed, the kiss encloses in itself an important value.  For example, it can mean I love you…I will miss you.

Sunday dinner, relaxing together at the end of the day, having an ice cream or a cup of coffee are all examples of rituals and every family develops its own over time.

When the children are small, rituals are celebrated for their growth: feeding them, bathing them, or putting them to bed.  Every time one of these actions is done together, the ties are consolidated between parents and children.

A ritual is any space the parents and children can access, sure of finding the occasion for a meaningful exchange with the person loved, a special way of reinforcing emotional bonds every day.

In conclusion, rituals represent precious times of communion around rites, able to guarantee that sense of security and protection we all need in order to find serenity and balance.  They make us feel part of our family and offer us the right space to communicate and keep alive bonds with each other.

The power of rituals is precisely this: creating occasions for encounter even in times of contrast and, naturally, reinforcing the bonds when harmony returns.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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