In preparation for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015 and the visit from Pope Francis, a catechism on family life titled “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” has been prepared. Each month CatholicPhilly.com presents a reflection on one of the 10 chapters of the catechism.
Sexual intimacy between a man and a woman raises the possibility of children. There are many other honorable relationships which include degrees of commitment and affection, but marriage has a unique mission: to integrate the fertility of male and female with the fidelity of God’s covenant.
Catholic parenting relies on the same rationale as sacramental marriage: love in the shape of service, sacrifice, trust, and openness to God’s will. If and when a marriage is blessed with children, love orients parents to their children’s education and spiritual formation.
Jesus said to his disciples “Let the children come unto me,” and it is the responsibility of all Catholic adults to shepherd children into a relationship with God and the people of God.
The whole parish should be involved in supporting marriages, families and children. We build the future of our society child by child, family by family. Vatican II called the family a “domestic church,” and the little church of the family takes its orientation from the faith and mission of the larger Church.
It is a mother’s and a father’s responsibility to be with children at home and in church, and to pray together regularly. Children will learn the faith only when they are taught.
The way a family responds to adversity, or gathers for meals, or makes financial decisions and sets priorities — these and many other aspects of “home economics” shape the values and identities of our children.
“Love is our mission” because even in the middle of our humble daily routines, Catholics live with a bold and glorious purpose.