The Domestic Church, the basic cell of society, the first institution ordained and created by God—these are different names describing the same reality of The Family! Pope Saint John Paul II asserted that the way the family goes is the way the world goes.
We must pray for the grace to be able to read the Book of History related to the family and world civilizations. It has been proven time and time again that once a society or a civilization allows the family to enter into crisis and unravel at its seams, then it is simply a matter of time until such a society or civilization collapses and crashes!
The human family made up of both father and mother is the basic breeding ground of individuals. God wills that children be born into a family. God wills that children be loved in a family. God wills that both father and mother be the instruments by which their children grow and mature into the person they are called to become: a dignified and useful citizen of society and a future citizen of heaven.
It must be asserted with absolute and unequivocal clarity that the family consists of the woman (called to Motherhood) and the man (called to Fatherhood), and the children that they procreate with God, the author and origin of all life. Any other configuration that does not consist of man and woman and the children born to them is a warped and erroneous ideological concept that must be rejected and repudiated energetically.
The child needs the different manifestations of love that the mother gives and the father gives. Without this different but complimentary pouring out of love, the child is exposed to emotional, spiritual, and moral damage that can be nearly beyond reparation! It is a duty of both justice and charity that the child have in their family the love of both the Father and Mother. No person, place, thing or institution can replace this male-female, Father-Mother concept. It was ordained by God Himself.
Therefore, let us present clear and practical action items that we should strive to both understand and implement so as to defend the future of our society, which depends on the defense and salvation of the family—the basic building block of society. Let us all pitch in to help families grow, flourish and blossom in the formation of future citizens of the Kingdom of God!
ACTION ITEMS IN THE DEFENSE OF THE HUMAN FAMILY!
1. FERVENT PRAYER. No doubt, fervent prayer connects us with the power of God who desires wholesome, holy, stable and solid families even more than we desire their existence. Jesus commands us: “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mt. 7:7). Let us constantly knock at the door of God’s Heart and beg for holy families. Indeed, this prayer is very pleasing to the Trinitarian Family—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2. SACRAMENT OF HOLY MATRIMONY. In this secular, materialistic, and hedonist culture, we have returned to a neo-paganistic society. The present younger generation of Catholics have no qualms about discarding the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Instead they opt to have a civil-marriage, or trial marriage, or just live-together using the verbiage: we want to see if we are compatible, if we have chemistry. In the interim, they repudiate God from their lives by living in mortal sin! However, in a word, marriage and family cannot function without God.
3. MARRIAGE PREP COURSES. Any activity, enterprise or endeavor worthy of pursuit demands time, energy, and real effort. Athletes claim: “No pain, no gain!” Consider this, if it takes a young man a good seven years or more to arrive at Ordination to the priesthood, equally important is the time and energy couples should exert in preparation for Holy Matrimony and the formation of wholesome and holy families.
4. NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAM. A couple who has decided on pursuing the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony must learn the techniques of Natural Family Planning. If not, once married, the perennial temptation will be to have recourse to the use of contraceptives. Such a mentality is a corrosive, poisonous, noxious mentality and philosophy of life that often leads to serious marital problems and possible separations. In a word, succumbing to the contraceptive philosophy, mentality and style of life is tantamount to reducing the woman to a mere object to be utilized and discarded by the man. In the words of Pope Saint Leo the Great: “Christians, recognize your dignity!” Especially in Holy Matrimony!
5. MARRIAGE PREP MENTORS. The art of learning a vocation or profession requires training and help from those who are more expert in the field. Baseball players need coaches; singers, those who have vocal experience; and writers or journalists should consult those who know the tricks of the trade. Marriage mentors would be couples married for a good span of time who have studied their vocation and worked on really living out their marriage vocation. Experience in life can prove to be an excellent textbook! Couples preparing to get married meeting with their mentoring couples in an orderly fashion, frequently and systematically, serves to establish a rock foundation for a solid marriage.
6. ENGAGED COUPLE’S SPIRITUAL LIFE. If the couple is engaged to receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, then both should be intent and industrious in cultivating a deep spiritual life in which God is the very center of their lives. They should strive to pray with each other, as well as pray for each other. Furthermore, they should make it a solid habit to receive two Sacraments frequently—Confession and the Holy Eucharist.
7. JESUS THE CENTER OF THEIR LIVES. When officiating at Weddings, when couples are about to exchange vows and give a ring as a sign of their mutual fidelity, I frequently remind the couple to put Christ in the very center of their marriage and their lives. I remind them of the literary masterpiece of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen: “It Takes Three to Get Married.” The three? The husband, the wife, and Jesus! With this trio, marriage is indeed a real winner!
8. SPIRITUAL TUNE- UP! Once married, it is incumbent upon the married couple to make concerted efforts to grow and strengthen their marital bond and live out the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to the max! Marriage Weekend Retreats, Marriage Encounter, Couples for Christ and even Spiritual Direction from a priest or well-trained spiritual director can prove to be invaluable so as not to lose their first love. Love in marriage is like a fire: you must constantly feed the flames, if not the love can be blown out and extinguished.
9. CELEBRATION OF ANNIVERSARIES. Birthdays, Baptisms, Graduations, Sports victories are all motives to celebrate and rightfully so! Equally important is the celebration of the Anniversary of your Wedding Day. A suggestion for the couple! Have a Mass offered for that intention and attend that Mass, then pray the Rosary afterward in thanksgiving for another year of faithfulness. Then off to a nice Restaurant to celebrate!
20. ROSARY: THE FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER. The famous Rosary-priest, Father Patrick Peyton, who was cured from severe tuberculosis through the intercession of Mary shortly before being ordained to the priesthood, made a proposal that once ordained, he would spread far and wide love for the Blessed Virgin Mary through the propagation of the most Holy Rosary. Furthermore, he believed that if the world is to be saved, it will have to come through the family. And one of the best ways to unite the family is through the daily recitation of the most Holy Rosary! His ambition was to get millions of families in America to pray the Rosary on a daily basis. He was known for two famous sayings: “The family that prays together, stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.” Our Lady of Fatima said in each of the six Apparitions to pray the Rosary daily! Saint Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter, “The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary” (2002), exhorted the whole world to pray the Rosary for two intentions: for world peace and for the salvation of the family.
In conclusion, my friends in Jesus and Mary, let us do all we possibly can to support the family, sustain the family, strengthen the family and defend the family against modern attacks. The future of society and the world at large depends upon the family which is the basic building block of society. Let us turn to Our Lady, the perfect Mother, and to Saint Joseph, the perfect husband and Father, and beg that through their prayers families will be sanctified and parents will lead their children to Heaven.
Copyright 2021 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA