Not just for African men

From the exhortation, Africae Munus:

51. In the family, men have received a particular mission. In their role as husbands and fathers, they exercise the noble responsibility of giving society the values it needs through marriage and the raising of children.

52. In union with the Synod Fathers, I encourage Catholic men, within their families, to make a real contribution to the human and Christian upbringing of their children, and to the welcoming and protection of life from the moment of conception. [84] I invite them to adopt a Christian style of life, rooted and grounded in love (cf. Eph 3:17). With Saint Paul, I exhort them once more: “Love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her ... husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church” (Eph 5:25, 28). Do not be afraid to demonstrate tangibly that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for those one loves (cf. Jn 15:13), that is to say, first and foremost, for one’s wife and children. Cultivate a serene atmosphere of joy in your home! Marriage is a “gift from the Lord”, in the words of Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe.[85] Your witness to the inviolable dignity of every human person will serve as an effective antidote to traditional practices which are contrary to the Gospel and oppressive to women in particular.

53. In manifesting and in living on earth God’s own fatherhood (cf. Eph 3:15), you are called to guarantee the personal development of all members of the family, which is the cradle and most effective means for humanizing society, and the place of encounter for different generations.[86] By the creative dynamic of the word of God itself,[87] may your sense of responsibility grow to the point where you make concrete commitments in the Church. She needs convinced and effective witnesses of the faith who will promote reconciliation, justice and peace,[88] and will offer their enthusiastic and courageous contribution to the transformation of their own milieu and of society as a whole. You are these witnesses through your work, which enables you constantly to provide for yourselves and for your families. What is more, by offering this work to God, you are associated with the redemptive work of Jesus Christ who gave an eminent dignity to labour by the work of his own hands at Nazareth.[89]

54. The quality and impact of your Christian lives depend on a life of profound prayer, nourished by the word of God and the sacraments. So be vigilant in keeping alive this essential dimension of your Christian commitment; it is there that your witness of faith in everyday tasks and your participation in ecclesial movements find their source! In the process, you also become models whom the young will want to imitate, and so you will be able to help them embark upon a responsible adult life. Do not be afraid to speak to them about God and to introduce them, by your own example, to the life of faith and to commitment in social or charitable activities, and in this way lead them to discover that they are truly created in the image and likeness of God. “The signs of this divine image in man can be recognized, not in the form of the body, which is subject to corruption, but in the prudence of intelligence, in justice, moderation, courage, wisdom, education.”[90]

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