Thursday, May 10, 2012

The New Evangelization Begins with the Family

North Carolina voters answered Pope Benedict XVI’s prayers earlier this week. His general prayer intention for May is that: “initiatives which defend and uphold the role of the family may be promoted within society.” The people of North Carolina did just that, voting in a constitutional amendment to make marriage between a man and a woman the “only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized.”

The family is the fundamental building block of society. Healthy marriages hold our communities together, and they strengthen the moral fiber of future generations. Pope Benedict said it best last December in his address to the Pontifical Council for the Family:

The family is a source of wealth for married couples, an irreplaceable good for children, an indispensable foundation of society and a vital community for the journey of the Church.
The family is good for husbands, wives, children and society, Pope Benedict said, and it is also good for the Church. He goes on to say:
The new evangelization depends largely on the Domestic Church (cf. ibid., n. 65). In our time, as in times past, the eclipse of God, the spread of ideologies contrary to the family and the degradation of sexual ethics are connected. And just as the eclipse of God and the crisis of the family are linked, so the new evangelization is inseparable from the Christian family. The family is indeed the way of the Church because it is the “human space” of our encounter with Christ.
The Church needs families to be witnesses to the world—to be lights to the world. The Church needs models of the Holy Family. Most of all, the Catholic Church needs the “Domestic Church” for the new evangelization, to pass the beauty of the faith on to future generations. The U.S. Bishops touch on this in their recent publication, Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization:
It is through the example of mothers and fathers, grandparents, siblings, and extended family members that one most concretely witnesses how to live a Christian life: ‘Family members learn more of the Christian life by observing each other’s strengths or weaknesses than by formal instruction. Their shared wisdom and experience often constitute a compelling Christian witness.’
It is in the family where we find the “primary place for the transmission of faith,” the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops said in a February communiqué. Like the U.S. Bishops said, the family is where one first concretely experiences the faith, and it is likely that the coming Synod on the New Evangelization will identify the family as key for re-evangelizing the Western world.

So let us give Christ to our families during the remainder of this Easter season. Let us reveal the Risen Lord to our loved ones so that His charity and truth can spread throughout the whole world.

Mary, Star of the New Evangelization, Pray for Us.

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