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The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion (no. 53)

  The Family Within the Christmas Mystery and
The World Meeting of Families

One year ago, in his Angelus address on the Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Pope Francis reminded us of the light shed on the family by the coming of Christ. The Son of God “wanted to be born into a human family,” wrote the pope—“he wanted to have a mother and father.” The Holy Family of Nazareth provides a vision for all families, the pope said, “helping them increasingly to become communities of love and reconciliation, in which tenderness, mutual help, and mutual forgiveness is experienced.”

If the Eternal Word, the Eternal Son of God, is to live a truly human life, if he is to take on our nature and our experience as human beings, he must, like each one of us, receive his humanity through the mystery of the human family. Christ himself comes to us through the foundational human institution of the family.
We live in a time when the Church must communicate to the faithful and to the world, not only what the church teaches about marriage and the family, but why. That is, if we are to give account of our faith, Catholics must make clear how it is that the Church's vision of the family emerges inevitably from the most fundamental truths about the human person. More than that, we must learn to make clear (first to ourselves) that the Church's morality of marriage is the morality of human love according to its very nature. As the Second Vatican Council teaches:

“God created man in his own image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26, 27). Calling him to existence through love, he called him at the same time for love. God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8) and in himself, he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image and continually keeping it in being, God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion. Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.” (Gaudium et spes 12)

It turns out that the family within the Christmas mystery bears witness to the whole of God's plan of salvation.

In the coming months a remarkable opportunity is ours for the spiritual renewal of families. September 22-27, 2015, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will welcome families from across America and around the world to the 2015
World Meeting of Families, which will include a papal visit. Since 1994, the World Meeting has convened every three years. At the 2012 gathering in Milan one million people attended the concluding papal mass. For details about how you can participate in this week of catechesis, celebration, and prayer (with venues for all ages), go online to  or the Facebook site, worldMeeting2015.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis urges us to “fervently call upon Mary Most Holy, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother, and Saint Joseph her enlighten, comfort and guide every family,” praying they may “fulfill with dignity and peace the mission which God has entrusted to them.” Prayer cards provided especially for this purpose are available to you at the church entrances.

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