Thousands of families from all over travel this month to Philadelphia to meet Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families. The catechetical topic of this gathering is the love of God as the mission of the family.
This catechesis is a reflection of 10 truths about the family:
- Created for joy. God loves us. He made us in his image to share in his joy. He takes an active hand in our lives. He sent his only Son to restore our dignity and lead us to him.
- The mission of love. God works through us. We have a mission: to receive God’s love and to show God’s love to others.
- The meaning of human sexuality. The corporeal world is sacred and reflects God’s glory. That includes our bodies. Our sexuality has the power to procreate, and shares in the dignity of being created in the image of God.
- Two become one. We are not made to be alone. Marriage is an intimate form of friendship that calls a man and a woman to love each other in the manner of God’s covenant. Marriage is a sacrament. Married love is fruitful and offered without reservation. It is in the image of Jesus’ faithfulness to the church.
- Creating the future. Marriage is meant to welcome new life. Children shape the future, just as they themselves are shaped in their families. Without children, there can be no future. Children reared with love are the foundation for a loving future.
- All love bears fruit. Not everyone is called to marriage, but every life is meant to be fertile — if not through bearing and raising children, then through other forms of self-giving, building and service.
- Light in a dark world. The family is a school of love, justice, compassion, forgiveness, mutual respect, patience and humility in the midst of a world darkened by selfishness. Poverty, affluence, pornography, contraception, philosophical and other intellectual mistakes can threaten the healthy family life. The church resists these things for the sake of protecting the family.
- A home for the wounded heart. Many people suffer painful situations resulting from poverty, disability, illness and addictions, unemployment and the loneliness of advanced age. Divorce and same-sex attraction impact the life of the family in powerful ways. Christian families should be sources of mercy, safety, friendship and support for those struggling with these issues.
- The church, mother, teacher and family. The church is the bride of Christ, our mother and teacher, our comforter and guide, our family of faith. Even when her people and leaders sin, we need the church’s wisdom, sacraments, support and proclamation of the truth, because she is the body of Jesus himself in the world.
- Choosing life. God’s love is our life mission. To live the mission of the domestic church means that Catholic families will sometimes live as minorities, with different values than their surrounding culture.
Our mission of love will require courage and fortitude. Jesus is calling. Let us respond, choosing lives of faith, hope, charity, joy, service and love.
Be passionate about our faith!
This is the English translation of the “Semillas de la Palabra” column "El amor de Dios, misión de las familias" that appeared in the September 2015 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.