Family: “The most beautiful thing God created”

I have loved watching and following the footage of Pope Francis in the US over the last week, and have been overjoyed to hear of conversions and graces coming from his visit. Such a blessed time for a country to have the successor of Peter among them. I kept thinking of the Acts of the Apostles:

“Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, [the man lame from birth] asked for alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, with John, and said: “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention upon them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise and walk.” (Acts 3:3-6)

It is wonderful to know that miracles and healings will have happened the past week – physical, emotional, spiritual.

Of course, one of the most wonderful speeches of Pope Francis was at the World Meeting of Families. If you didn’t watch it, don’t miss seeing the full speech. This is so anointed with the Holy Spirit… truly magnificent. If you don’t get something in your eye as you watch this, I’ll be amazed 🙂

The World Meeting of Families coincides with the three or four sessions we are running with the Catechumenate on marriage and family life. This is one of the beauties of doing a year-long, year-round Catechumenate. You have much more time for forming people in what is most important. If you have a September to Easter programme, it is likely you will cover the sacrament of marriage in one session and move on. However, knowing that this is the area where most difficulties will arise, and which is most relevant to the lives of most people, we wanted to give a lot more time to it. Here’s what we have done and are doing:

  • Marriage and family life come in the third term of the Catechumenate, that is, after two terms of teaching, fellowship, prayer, experience of the liturgy and retreats… In other words, after two terms of GRACE and transformation of heart. I think that without this foundation, many people would be unable to accept a lot of what we present
  • In the first session, we showed the first Humanum video (see above) – a beautiful explanation of maleness and femaleness and introduction to marriage
  • After the video, I asked everyone what challenges it posed to modern culture and the answers were spot on: chastity outside of marriage, difference between male and female, same sex attraction, openness to children, cohabitation, viewing children as a commodity. At this stage we simply wrote these down on a flipchart, without discussing too much, but I told them that we will discuss all of these in the coming weeks – it will encourage them to start thinking
  • We then had a married couple gave an introductory catechesis on the sacrament of marriage, followed by lectio divina on the wedding feast at Cana.

If you are involved in marriage preparation, Baptism preparation (with parents), RCIA… I would warmly recommend the Humanum videos. They are all available on Youtube, are each around 15 minutes long, and beautifully produced. There was a sense of something deeply moving and real when we shared this on Monday… I knew that lights were going on in people’s minds as they realised, “This is the truth!”

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