This month, the 8th World Meeting of Families will take place in Philladelphia, USA. The World Meeting of Families is an international event of prayer, catechesis, and celebration. The theme of this meeting is Love is our Mission- The Family Fully Alive. The meeting will end with the Festival of Families and Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.
To prepare for the event, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Pontifical Council for the Family have created a preparatory catechesis on family life. Each chapter ends with questions for discussion. Below, I share my answers.
Chapter 1: Created for Joy
a) What is it about Jesus that makes him trustworthy?
Jesus is trustworthy because he is the Son of God, who gave his life for us, for our salvation. In last Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 8:27-35), Jesus asked, “Who do people say I am?”. Peter answered, “You are the Christ”. This is what we believe as Christians.
b) What things in your life distract you from Jesus? What would help you become more familiar or even intimate with him?
There are many things that distract me from Jesus! To-do lists, emails, social media, the internet and tiredness are my top five! I know I should spend more time reading Scripture, because it is by reading Scripture that one comes to know Christ. It can be overwhelming- Where do I start? Is there a good Catholic bible study to follow? Where will I find the time?
For now, I read the daily Mass readings at the earliest time possible, which is usually no later than my toddler’s midday naptime. Naptime is like gold dust, and sometimes it is hard to sit down with my Magnificat when I have a zillion things to do while the toddler sleeps, but I figure God is the maker of time so if I give mine to Him, he’ll look after the rest!
As a new(ish) mum, finding time to sit in silent adoration is a challenge, but something I hope to be able to return to. In the busyness of life as a mother, I could become more familiar with God by looking for Christ in everyone I encounter each day, from my husband, daughter and family, to the people I meet during my day- other mums, children, acquaintances and shop assistants, recognising their dignity as sons and daughters of the King, even if they don’t see it themselves as made in the image of God, and think they have no higher purpose.
c) What does it mean to be “created in the image of God”? Is it possible to understand human identity without God? Why? Why not?
Being created in the image of God sets us above the animals, and gives us dignity as children of God. I’ve heard a saying that goes, “God has no grandchildren”. It means we are all his sons and daughters, no-one is greater than the other. He doesn’t have favourites. We are all called to have a relationship with God.
Saint John Paul II said,
Being a person in the image and likeness of God thus also involves existing in a relationship to the other ‘I’
We are created for relationship with others and with God. It is impossible to understand our human identity without God, because He created us for love, for this relationship. Without him, the key to our existence is missing.
d) “Love is our mission” is the theme of this catechesis. What does “love” mean in your life? How might a mission to love affect your choices, priorities and ambitions?
In my life, I think of the love I have for my husband, my daughter, my parents, my family, my friends and for God. I have come to realise that love is more than emotion. It’s a decision, and one must make the decision to love every day. It isn’t always easy and it often requires sacrifice, or making a gift of yourself to the other person. In our culture, many people are trying to find themselves. Yet, all too often, the quest for self-discovery ends in failure and frustration as people search in the wrong places. The answer lies in our own families and communities-
Man “cannot fully find himself except through sincere gift of himself (Gaudium et Spes 22)