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Chapter 28. Fourth Commandment: Strengthen Your Family • 375

and those who endure the death of a child or a spouse. Luigi and Maria

had their share of troubles and handled them with courage and faith.

Addressing the married couples at the beatification, the Holy Father

asked them to learn from the example of Maria and Luigi, “as you face dif-

ficulties and trials in being faithful to your vocation, in cultivating conjugal

and family harmony, in carrying out the mission of parents and participat-

ing in the life of society.” Luigi died in 1951, Maria in 1965.

Luigi and Maria lived their ordinary life in an extraordinary way. They

centered their life on the daily Eucharist. They also had a strong devotion

to the Virgin Mary, to whom they prayed every evening. They met regularly

with their spiritual director. Their fidelity to the Gospel and their heroic vir-

tues were verified in their lives as spouses and parents. Their prayers and

example can guide us in our reflection on the Fourth Commandment.


Marriage and family are ordered to the good of the

spouses, to the procreation and education of children.

. . . Children owe their parents respect, gratitude, just

obedience, and assistance.

—CCC, nos. 2249, 2251

The first three Commandments help us to understand how to love God

with our whole selves. The next seven Commandments teach us how to

love each other as we love ourselves.

The Fourth Commandment deals with all aspects of family life—

parental and filial duties and responsibilities, that is, those of love from

child to parent. This includes the duties of children toward their parents,

the duties of brothers and sisters toward each other, and the responsibili-

ties of adult children toward their older parents. This Commandment

also addresses the duties of government and the duties of citizens

(cf. CCC, nos. 2234-2246), including the responsibility of the state and