There is a saying, “ Love wasn’t put in your heart to stay – love isn’t love till you give it away.” Love is a feeling but much more than that, it is a decision.  It does include the Valentine view of romantic love of the young, but romance should be a part of mature relationships too. The intimacy of marriage in good times and in bad and the patient and enduring love in all families in times of difficulty all require decisions. Love in its different forms is what matters and is the foundation for all relationships within families and beyond. The spirit of ubuntu is at its heart.   This is my commandment.  Love one another as I have loved you. John15:11-12. Against a backdrop of love so central to the Christian experience of marriage and the family another virtue is often overlooked in our world of frenetic and superficial relationships, it is tenderness.  AL 28

Setting the Scene.   Short family anecdotes and some background to special days enhances a family understanding of scripture and builds the link between faith and life as families share their thoughts.

February 1st. Benedict Daswa.  At the time of his murder there was clearly serious division within the community of the village of Mbahe.  There were those who believed in the magical power of sangomas and there were those who had rejected those beliefs and had adopted Christianity.   Benedict was a teacher, a lay minister in the church he built and a loving husband and father.  He spoke and acted with great love and a spirit of ubuntu to the point that his body was sacrificed for his belief.  He gained the crown of martyrdom.

If I give away all I have and if I deliver my body to be burned but have not love I gain nothing.  1 Cor 13.

Pope Francis: In difficult moments of history how often do we hear, ‘Today our country needs heroes’? We ask, Today what does our Church need?’ Martyrs, witnesses, everyday saints of ordinary life, lives lived coherently; but we also need those who have the courage to accept the grace to be witnesses until the end, until death. Martyrs are the lifeblood of the Church.” April 2017

February 2nd. Presentation of the Lord. Mapitso explained that this feast ends the 40 days of the Christmas. season. It is also known as Candlemas to remind us again that Jesus is the Light of the World. It also commemorates the ritual purification that was Jewish tradition after childbirth. As in African cultures there was a great reverence for blood as a seat of life.

When the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. From Luke 2:22-40. 

Pope Francis.   The concept of culture is valuable for grasping the various expressions of the Christian life in God’s people. It has to do with the lifestyle of a given society, the specific way in which its members relate to one another, to other creatures and to God.  EG115

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