Why Is There A Famine Of Love And Family Life?
We Must get Back To The Basics Of Family Life!
If we were to make a synthesis of the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the definition of marriage, we will understand that marriage is the intimate communion of life and love between a man and woman, joined together by God Himself.
The purpose of marriage, as defined by the Catholic Church, are for the good of the spouses, the procreation of children, and the education of children. This communion of life and love has been established by Our Lord as one of the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. This intimate communion of life and love is exclusive, faithful and open to the procreation of children, in other words, only between one man and one woman, faithful until death do you part, open to lovingly receiving children from God, without any artificial means of stopping new life. CONSENT AND CONSUMMATION ARE THE TWO ESSENTIAL DIMENSIONS THAT MAKE A MARRIAGE VALID.
The consent is expressed by the "I do" pronounced in the marriage vows. The "I" must be free of pressure and impediments, it must be without conditions, forever, faithful and open to life. The "I do" is an act of the will to enter into a life-long covenant of love.
The total and free gift of each to the other expressed in the exchange of the marital vows comes to fulfillment in the consummation of their "yes" through the gift of themselves to each other in the marital act. The act of consummation is a profound expression of giving their entire beings, body and soul, to each other in the marital embrace of love and "authentic married love is caught up into divine love....." The personal beauty and interior truth of conjugal union lies in its establishment of a true communion of persons so intimate and so profound as to image something of the interior life of the Trinity and the marriage of Christ and His Church.
Communion of course is only possible if both husband and wife live the theological virtue of "charity" with Christian authenticity and maturity. The spouses live out, within the ordinary circumstances of their lives, the daily program of Christian love so beautifully explained by Saint Paul: "Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is the bond of perfection" (Colossians 3:12-14).
This program of love is certainly not easy to live out within our daily existence. However, it is possible to live this life of love if we have a mature spiritual life. Our encounter with the God of love will renew and strengthen our love every day.
Our relationship with God is a personal relationship; a love relationship of two persons. Yes, we are a community of believers; but better yet, we are a community of people who are in love. Read the Scriptures. Immerse yourself in the Word of God. Spend time with our Eucharistic Lord every day; daily Mass and adoration. Be part of the people who are always in love.
As we consider the Sacrament of Marriage and family life, I would like to remind all of you the two fundamental aspects of family life that will help keep your marriage strong and your family together. The first thing is the family dinner (don't forget prayers before and after) . The second is to keep Sunday holy because it is the Lord's Day.
First of all, a healthy family lives around the kitchen table. So many good memories are created in the kitchen and in the dining room. Having dinner together every night as a family is an essential aspect to family life. A survey from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) says that the more often children have dinners with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs, and that parental interaction fostered around the dinner table is one of the most potent tools to help parents raise healthy, drug-free children. The CASA found kids that have dinner with their parents fewer than three times a week, are two times more likely to drink or smoke, and are one and a half times more likely to smoke marijuana.
Secondly, we need to remember that Sunday is the Lord's Day. We live out the Sabbath by attending Mass every Sunday unless we are prevented by some serious reason. We also live out the Sabbath by not doing any unnecessary physical work.
Family dinner each night of the week, attending church together as a family, and being together as family on Sunday are all basic aspects of family life that foster and develop healthy and successful families. When Mother Theresa came to America for the first time, she said:
"I suppose that some of you are feeling that you would have to buy a plane ticket and travel to India if you were to give effective help to the poor. There is no need. The poor are right her in your own country. In the third world, there is often a famine of the stomach due to lack of food, but the people are rich in love. They share what little they have with one another. In developed nations like yours, there is an abundance of food. But there is often a famine of the heart due to lack of love. The victims of this famine of love are the new poor, and who are these poor people? They are the people sitting next to you."
Why is there a famine of love in our country? The answer is simple and clear: we have become so self-absorbed and selfish and we have made work, material things our false gods.
A good resolution for the new year would be a firm commitment to get back to basics; have dinner every night as a family, attend Mass every Sunday as a family and stop working on Sunday so that you can spend time together.
Source: Courageous Priest Fr. James Farfaglia.