Vatican Council II promoted the dignity of marriage and the family life. It defined marriage as a community of life and love, placing a self-giving love at the center of the family.
The Family Life Office of the U.S. Catholic Bishops listed some ways God calls family members to follow Jesus’ teachings. The following are some of those ways.
A family is the first community and the most basic way in which the Lord gathers us, forms us, and acts in the world. The early Church expressed this truth by calling the Christian family a domestic church. You carry out the churches’ mission in your home in ordinary ways when:
You believe in God and that God cares about you. It is God to whom you turn in times of trouble. It is God to whom you give thanks when all goes well.
You love and never give up believing in the value of another person. Before young ones hear the Word of God preached from the pulpit, they form a picture of God drawn from their earliest experiences of being loved by parents, grandparents, godparents, and other family members.
You foster intimacy, beginning with the physical and spiritual union of the spouses and extending in appropriate ways to the whole family. To be able to share yourself – good and bad qualities – within a family and to be accepted there is indispensable to forming a close relationship with the Lord.
You evangelize by professing faith in God, acting in accord with gospel values, and setting an example of Christian living for your children and for others.
You educate. As the primary teachers of your children, you impart knowledge of the faith and help them to find values necessary for Christian living. Your example is the most effective way to teach. Your wisdom and theirs come from the same Spirit.
You pray together, thanking God for blessings, reaching for strength, asking for guidance in crisis and doubt. You know that God answers all prayers, but sometimes in surprising ways.
You serve one another, often sacrificing your own wants, for the good of others. You struggle to take up your cross and carry it with love. Your “deaths and risings” become compelling signs of Jesus’ own life, death, and resurrection.
You forgive and seek reconciliation. Repeatedly, you let go of old hurts and grudges to make peace with one another. Family members come to believe that, no matter what, they are still loved by you and by God.
You celebrate life – birthdays and weddings, births and deaths, a first day of school and a graduation, rites of passage into adulthood, new jobs, old friends, family reunions, surprise visits, holy days and holidays. You come together when tragedy strikes and in joyful celebration of the sacraments. As you gather for a meal, you break bread and share stories, becoming more fully the community of love Jesus calls us to be.
You welcome the stranger, the lonely one, the grieving person into your home. You give drink to the thirsty and food to the hungry. The Gospel assures us that when we do this, they are strangers no more, but Christ.
You act justly in your community when you treat others with respect, stand against discrimination and racism, and work to overcome hunger, poverty, homelessness, illiteracy.
You affirm life as a precious gift from God. You oppose whatever destroys life, such as abortion, euthanasia, unjust war, capital punishment, neighborhood and domestic violence, poverty and racism. Within your family, when you shun violent words and actions and look for peaceful ways to resolve conflict, you become a voice for life, forming peacemakers for the next generation.
This is way we are supposed to live as Christians.
Posted on Fri, August 29, 2014
by Rev. Wilmer L. Todd