After completing three days of meetings and forums on the family I am left with a deeper, more grounded realization that our faith is not only about a personal relationship with Jesus, but it is here as a logical gift and a tool that supports the supernatural structures of our families and our worldly communities. We are physically, biologically, and geographically tied to each other. As families we live in close quarters, and grow in close quarters. As a society, the quarters continue to become tighter and more interconnected.
Amongst these tight familial and societal relations there are bound to be some interpersonal challenges as we stretch, change, and make room for one another in our lives. It is precisely in this fertile place of growth that God dwells. This growth is imperfectly but beautiful, because it is an example of God’s love. The need that we have, both as individuals and families, for growth and connection is a tool by which God can demonstrate his love for us. In our lack of wholeness, God generously fills this void by showing us his love and mercy. He connects us first to himself and, when we are grounded in him, connects us to each other. How awesome is this love! It is the pure, familial love of the Church offered to all.
It is up to us to choose to grow with him and to receive his generous love. It can be incredibly difficult to do so as growth can be uncomfortable or even painful. We may rush through this experience without actually being present to God, listening to his desires or experiencing authentic growth. Our world supports these very temptations to look for the easy or quick fixes, to rapidly improve our circumstances or relations without actually being present to God, to the truth about ourselves, and to the loving will of the Father.
The Church, in all her practicality and splendor, offers us God’s tools to discern and navigate our relationships and lives through the practice of our faith in prayer, the Eucharist and the other sacraments, spiritual direction, and service. She opens her loving arms to support us in finding God’s loving truth and teaches us how to practice our faith. The Church, in her wisdom, helps us to elevate our lives to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us in order to love more completely in our families and our communities.
This practice could not be more relevant or necessary to living in tight quarters, to understanding how we should relate with or speak to each other in our families and in our local or global communities. This practice permits the manifestation of the Holy Spirit to work through us as God’s love. Jesus Christ works through us to heal our relationships, and sends his Holy Spirit to understand his truths and to be the people of love we so yearn to be. We have been given the answers to the questions we search for and the tools to arrive at those answers. As the World Meeting of Families comes to an end, the call to action for the week is this: It is our job as Catholics to practice our faith. It is up to us to elevate our families by picking up God’s tools and serving each other in love, to grow in love with God and to impact all of our communities beginning with what happens in our homes and lives.
When and where will you start?