Family ... God's Gift To The World!
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:15-17).
The spring season reminds us that new life is continuous. Every visible and invisible sign is proof of God’s love for us. The dormant landscape turns green, and uncultivated fields become planted farmland – all for the purpose of sustaining life. In the same way, our Catholic Church comes alive with Sacramental blessings to empower our souls with an infusion of grace. A dedicated period of preparation and catechesis becomes a time to celebrate: First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Baptism, Holy Orders, Holy Matrimony, and so much more. Don’t miss a single opportunity to give all the glory to God! The Easter Season comes to life with love and the promise of life eternal!
We recently celebrated the birth of our fifth grandchild. This little miracle will bring great joy to our family. Her trust and dependence on parents for every need remind us that the same is true for us, as we rely on the mercy of a loving God in our lives. Children need to experience the world – not just the material world, but also the transcendent reality of God for which all human hearts were created!
God’s plan for family begins with the matrimonial consent of the spouses to bring children into the world or adopt, each forming a community of faith. Parents have the awesome responsibility of sharing the first words and examples of faith to their children. It is important to teach them how to respect the presence of God in their lives. The Catholic family becomes the priesthood of the laity in a “domestic church.” We all have a tremendous duty to embolden a society that values the plans of Almighty God, Creator of all things!
In the late 20th century, a breakdown in the family began to take place in ways that had never been experienced before. Sadly, a rising divorce rate, contraceptives, cohabitation and abortion began devastating marriage and family. These statistics are hard to deny, and even more challenging to accept or share; but they are true facts. As we cross into the 21st century, the loss of the precious gift of the family has continued to deteriorate in unimaginable ways.
We can find many excuses for this change in our culture, and we are all culpable. No one wants to be told they are displeasing God by the way they live their life. But these thought-provoking truths need to be delivered with love, even at the risk of being accused of intolerance. Genuine honesty is essential to the wellbeing of our families, which in turn creates a healthy society. It is with boldness and love that I implore everyone to speak the truth! Our world is suffering, and God must be very sad.
Our domestic church needs young, strong families, and that begins with young couples seeking marriage in the Church. The grace that strengthens marriage begins at the altar, not on a beach. The grace that empowers a child begins at the baptismal font. Do we understand what grace really is? These beautiful opportunities are provided to us in the gift of priesthood, instituted by Christ. This perfect partnership was God’s plan all along, for the purpose of sustaining life. Why would any of us turn away from such a blessing?! Amen!