Monday, June 14, 2010

Renewal of the Domestic Church

There's something in the air, and it's the sweet aroma of the sacraments. I am blessed to know several people who are newly engaged, preparing to marry or are newly married, have just found out they are expecting or have recently delivered a precious child. I was also privileged to attend the ordination of a parishioner to the permanent diaconate. All of these amazing life choices happening at once reminds me of being newly married myself and anticipating the world that God would put before me and my husband. It's rejuvenating, and wonderful.

The family is the domestic church. (Cf. CCC, 1656) In the heart of the family, we see the hope of the future -- lives joined in matrimony, new vocations, new families to strengthen the Body of Christ. Sadly, the family has been under assault most significantly since the legalization and cultural institution of birth control. Human Vitae warned of the scourge to the family and the world as a result of this vile trend toward chemically controlled fertility.

In his piece Phrophecies of Humanae Vitae, Fr. Paul Marx writes:

On July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae re-affirmed the Catholic teaching on life, love and human sexuality. In that document, he listed the consequences of life lived outside Catholic teaching.

He predicted that:

1. Contraception would lead to conjugal infidelity.

2. Contraceptive practice would lead to a “general lowering of morality.”

3. Contraception would lead men to cease respecting woman in their totality and would cause them to treat women as “mere instruments of selfish enjoyment” rather than as cherished partners.

4. And finally, widespread acceptance of contraception by couples would lead to a massive imposition of contraception by unscrupulous governments.


Fr. Marx concludes that each of these horrors exists in the world as we know it; that the family is in great danger as the result of what was once touted as being a means of liberation for women and families. Instead what we are witnessing globally is imposition of these measures on impoverished populations by their governments in the name of population control. My observation on that tactic: One less mouth to feed still doesn't produce crops or increase humanitarian aid of nourishment.

And what of negative population growth resulting from a contraceptive mentality? Some countries are burying more people than are being born. Who will sustain these countries, defend these countries, preserve the heritage of these cultures? It is shocking to think that we are witnessing the death of a portion of our civilization as a result of the prevalence of contraceptives. Will we be able to recover from such a devastation?

The gates of hell shall not prevail, Christ reminds us. (Cf. Mt 16: 18) So, I am ever hopeful that there is a strong and responsible resurgence of the family ethic that is being nurtured. I can see it happening all around me. I personally know 6 people who are in their 20 - 30's who are expecting or have just delivered children. I have been to two bridal showers and one wedding in the last month. The Lord is working on these hearts to bring them closer to Him. Through these sacraments, the grace is flowing to restore the moral order to society. It is such an amazing thing to witness the Spirit moving to build up the Body of Christ.

Humanae Vitae was a sign of what was coming in modern culture. The sacraments are a sign of what will always be, or rather should I say, Who will always be. The more we breath in the aroma of those sacraments, allow them to permeate our very being, incorporate them into the living of our daily lives, we will indeed see a resurgence of these wonderful events; the rise of happy marriages that endure for life and babies born into loving families according to the will of God.

God bless all of you who are expecting, recently delivered, or are on your way to marriage and the joys of beginning a family, as well as, those who have given their lives to God through Holy Orders. The Lord is waiting for you to transform the face of the earth with His love in the sacraments. Let us never forget that it is the domestic Church from which our future vocations will flow and be nurtured.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Slight addendum:

A friend emailed me today to remind me that she was 40 and pregnant. OK -- there you go, I was trying to make her younger, but if she wants you to know she's 40, I'll tell you.

It is quite a wonderful thing to see women embracing life at any age. My youngest was born to us when I was 38 (and my husband was in his 40's).