It’s happening. All around me, The buzz is about the family. First, there will be the World Meeting of Families. Quickly following, there will be the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.
The world of Catholic media (and even Catholic Facebook, which isn’t really Catholic media, is it?) is nearly frenetic in its activity. People are moving to and fro, jockeying for position and trying to make sense of news as every picture and quote becomes available.
I can’t even. I just can’t.
I’m taking a different approach to the whole thing. I have a family. It’s rather large. Right now, it’s rather needy. I’m the mom in that family and it’s my vocation to meet their needs. I can’t keep up with the swirl around every new “story.” Indeed, I find they distract me from the task at hand: raising a family.
So, in honor of the World Meeting of Families, I’m stepping away from Facebook and Twitter. Instead, I’m curling up with some well-worn little books in my home. I’m going to hold in my hands some wisdom of the ages. Honestly, I’m going to look to St. John Paul for some reassurance and some gentle encouragement in this daunting task of raising a family in 2015.
Maybe you’re home, too. Maybe the grand expanse of a world meeting of families seems overwhelming and –honestly—a little ridiculous from where you stand there in your pjs throwing in your first load of laundry.
Let’s read together. Here’s some gentle, but powerful, encouragement for your ordinary day, doing ordinary things for the glory of God. There’s so much glory in this life at home. Here are thoughts to get you praying as you sweep and rock and scrub and nurse. I’ll be back tomorrow with another hug.
By means of the sacrament of marriage, in which it is rooted and from which it draws its nourishment, the Christian family is continuously vivified by the Lord Jesus and called and engaged by Him in a dialogue with God through the sacraments, through the offering of one’s life and through prayer. In this priestly role, the Christian family is called to be sanctified and to sanctify the ecclesial community and the world (FC 55).
In affirming that the spouses, as parents, cooperate with God the Creator in conceiving and giving birth to a new human being, we are not speaking merely with reference to the laws of biology. Instead, we wish to emphasize that God himself is present in human fatherhood and motherhood quite differently than he is present in all other instances of begetting ‘on earth.’ Indeed, God alone is the source of that ‘image and likeness’ which is proper to the human being, as it was received at Creation. Begetting is the continuation of Creation. (Evangelium Vitae 43; citing Letter to Families, 9).
"By virtue of their ministry of educating, parents are through the witness of their lives the first heralds of the gospel for their children. Furthermore, by praying with their children, by reading the word of God with them and by introducing them...into the Body of Christ—both the Eucharistic and the ecclesial body—they become fully parents, in that they are begetters not only of bodily life, but also of the life that through the Spirit's renewal flows from the cross and resurrection of Christ" (Familiaris Consortio, #39).
“Family prayer has its own characteristic qualities. It is prayer offered in common, husband and wife together, parents and children together…by reason of their dignity and mission, Christian parents have the specific responsibility of educating their children in prayer, introducing them to gradual discovery of the mystery of God and to personal dialogue with Him…”(Familiaris Consortio #59-60).
“The Christian family is called upon like the large-scale Church, to be a sign of unity for the world and in this way exercise its prophetic role by bearing witness to the Kingdom and peace of Christ, towards which the whole world is journeying” (FC 48).
Human beings are not the same thing as the images proposed in advertising and shown by the modern mass media. They are much more, in their physical and psychic unity, as composites of soul and body, as persons. They are much more because of their vocation to love, which introduces them as male and female into the realm of the “great mystery” (LF 20).
“Christ entrusted man to the Church; he entrusted man to her as the way of her mission and ministry. Of all the many paths that man walks, the family is the first and most important. It is a common path to all, yet one which is particular, unique and unrepeatable just like every individual is unrepeatable” (cf. LF 2).