In preparation for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015 and the visit by 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. Previous monthly reflections are online here.
We began this catechesis by explaining that God made us for a reason. The God we meet in Jesus Christ loves us, and calls us to love as he does. Marriage is the sacrament that brings human fertility into this mission of love. If we understand that love is our mission in our marriages, families and parishes, then we have learned a basic truth that will shape many other areas of life.
For example, if fidelity to the covenant requires restraint and perseverance, if our bodies and the material world can be vessels of divine grace, then we can approach questions of sexuality, ecology, technology and medicine with renewed commitment and insight.
We now realize why a catechesis on the family has actually been a catechesis for all of life. If we have learned to think of our families as domestic churches, if we have learned why moral individualism is not the right context for receiving Catholic teaching, then we have adopted a view that will reorient our whole identity.
This mission is not reserved for the few or for the extraordinary. Nor does it mean that families somehow have to stop being themselves or seek after some impossible perfection in order to witness to the Gospel. It may mean that we are sometimes minorities in a secular culture that sees life differently. But the Church has wide experience of many different cultural contexts, offering wisdom and advice about spiritual practices to sustain us. Please see the catechism for more details.
Love is our origin and destiny, which is why only the way of love can truly satisfy, and that is why Love is Our Mission.