World Meeting of Families Catechesis Series
The USCCB is excited about the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) being held in Philadelphia in September 2015. We are presenting a series of short articles focused on the WMOF Catechesis Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive and its implications for our daily lives. We will follow the timing suggested by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by exploring one theme each month leading up to the World Meeting. The Archdiocese for Military Services also reflected on Chapter One.
Chapter One: Created for Joy
Sara Perla, Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (Nov. 20)
The first chapter of the WMF Catechesis focuses on the universal call of love. Each of us is “created for joy” and the Lord desires us to be with Him forever. He wants us to be happy!
Pope Francis’s Lumen Fidei [LF] is quoted here: “Promising love forever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love” (no. 52). Many people today doubt the possibility of love lasting until death. They fear the risk of taking a vow; of committing themselves to an unknown future. It is, at its root, a crisis of faith. Do I believe in God? Do I believe He loves me? Can I, because of God, have enough faith in myself and in another person to say “yes” forever?
Flannery O’Connor wrote that faith is “trust, not certainty.” It comforts me that we can start small when we are practicing trust. In my relationship with God, I have needed many small steps of trust before undertaking any bigger leaps. The hard part, I find, is the seeming dissimilarity between human friendship and friendship with God. In human friendship, trust is built up as each person comes through for the other over time, but in our relationship with God, it’s more an act of conforming ourselves to Him and His will—because He is always there for us, just not always in the way we want or expect.
I trust God because He proved His love for me on the Cross—not because He gives me what I want when I want it. Likewise, I expect that when I, God willing, come before God to marry a man that I love, I will trust that man not because he conforms to my idea of who he should be, but rather because he has been given to me by God who is trustworthy. “God’s love is basic to our identity, and more fundamental than any anxieties, ambitions, or questions we may have” (LF, no. 16).
I have been created to love in trust: I have been created for joy!
This week at the Vatican there is an International & Interreligious gathering centering on “The Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage.” Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco, the Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage is among those attending.
The Holy Father opened the Colloquium with an address this morning, November 17. He reiterates:
“Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity. That is why I stressed in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium that the contribution of marriage to society is ‘indispensable’; that it ‘transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple’ (n. 66). And that is why I am grateful to you for your Colloquium’s emphasis on the benefits that marriage can provide to children, the spouses themselves, and to society.”
He continues, “May this colloquium be an inspiration to all who seek to support and strengthen the union of man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental and beautiful good for persons, families, communities, and whole societies.”
Pope Francis also confirmed in this address that he will be coming to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families!
Good news! Judges of the Sixth Circuit upheld marriage in that district. Read Archbishop Cordileone’s comments in the USCCB Media release.
USCCB Chairman Praises Sixth Circuit Decision Upholding Marriage
November 7, 2014
WASHINGTON—Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, praised the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholding the rights of states to legally recognize and protect the meaning of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.
“The Sixth Circuit has upheld the rights of the citizens of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee to protect and defend marriage as the unique relationship of a man and a woman,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “We are particularly heartened by the Court’s acknowledgment of the reasonable arguments for preserving the true definition of marriage and by the Court’s respect for the self-determination of states on this issue.”
The Court’s opinion included an argument grounding marriage in the complementarity of man and woman, saying: “It is not society’s laws or for that matter any one religion’s laws, but nature’s laws (that men and women complement each other biologically), that created the policy imperative.”
The Court’s opinion also argued for the rationality of the states’ protecting marriage’s unique meaning: “By creating a status (marriage) and by subsidizing it (e.g., with tax-filing privileges and deductions), the States created an incentive for two people who procreate together to stay together for purposes of rearing offspring. That does not convict the States of irrationality, only of awareness of the biological reality that couples of the same sex do not have children in the same way as couples of opposite sexes and that couples of the same sex do not run the risk of unintended offspring. That explanation, still relevant today, suffices to allow the States to retain authority over an issue they have regulated from the beginning.”
Archbishop Cordileone said, “The Church continues to support efforts to promote, protect and defend marriage in the law. We pray in solidarity with all people that the authentic meaning of marriage will be protected and honored in this country, for the good of all.”
Those challenging the marriage laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee are expected to petition the Supreme Court to review the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
The USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth is excited about the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) being held in Philadelphia in September 2015. We are presenting a series of short articles focused on the WMOF Catechesis Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive and its implications for our daily lives. We will follow the timing suggested by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by exploring one theme each month leading up to the World Meeting.
Sara Perla, Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth
The WMF Catechesis begins with a quote from Pope St. John Paul II’s first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis. It begins with one of those classic pull-outs: “Man cannot live without love.” It is so simple, deceivingly so, and striking. Man cannot live without love. Why not? This must mean that every person in the world is loved. Pope Benedict XVI echoed this when he said, “Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” Pope Francis tweeted: “The love of God is not generic. God looks with love upon every man and woman, calling them by name.” This forms the basis for all of our discussions about the family, the place in which we are brought into being. We are loved; not only by our parents but most fundamentally by God. We have come into this world not for anyone else’s sake, but for our own. We are loved, because we are.
On a subjective and experiential level, though, we also need to know love. As Pope St. John Paul II continues, “He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.”
I have been pretty spoiled in love. My parents raised me and my brother in a loving home where they went on date nights and allowed us a lot of freedom to explore our own interests. Even when I went through the teenage years of confusion and angst, slamming doors and crying on my bed, I never doubted that my parents loved me. As an adult I can see that this fact is not one I should take for granted. It is a gift that my life was never “incomprehensible” or “senseless” because of simple things my parents did to show their love for me. My mom would pick me up from school with chicken nuggets that I could munch on the way home, and my dad would take off work to come to school assemblies when I was going to sing. Pope Francis told the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals in February: “We are called to make known God’s magnificent plan for the family.” I’m thankful that my parents showed me this plan in action. “Man cannot live without love.”