#WMOF2015: Love is our Mission- The Mission of Love

World Meeting of Families 2015 logoThis 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 2: The Mission of Love

The Mission of Love #wmof2015 catechesis world meeting of families 2015 love is our mission

a) Why is God’s love like a marriage?

The Sacrament of Marriage is indissoluble. God’s love is like a marriage because he remains steadfast for us. In the Old Testament, we read of God’s relationship with his people using the language of marriage. When God’s people sin and turn away from Him, it is a kind of “adultery and prostitution”. God is portrayed as a betrayed husband. Yet despite this, God never abandons us. “God perseveres in love for his people, even when we fall, even when we insist on trying to live without him”. (World Meeting of Families Catechesis)

b) How is God’s way of loving different from our own human way of loving?

Human love is flawed- we are fickle and selfish. God’s love is perfect, enduring and sacrificial.

c) What is true love and how do we recognise it? What are some similarities and differences between your culture’s notion of romantic love and God’s covenant love?

True love is mutual self-giving.

God is love and humans are made in the image and likeness of God so, in order to understand humans, we need to understand Him. While the Trinity is a mystery, we do see glimpses through revelation and tradition of the Church of what the life of the Trinity exists in- the eternal exchange of love. This Trinitarian God is that same God in whose image we are made this we too are made to receive and give love. In so doing, by the grace of God, we can share in the eternal exchange of love.

Due to our fallen nature, human love can fall short of this. Our culture proposes notions of romantic love that are either distortions or contradictions of this authentic love. The impulse to love is written into our very nature, but all to often this can be corrupted into a self-love that seeks its own satisfaction, rather than the good of the other.

d) Can you think of a time when God’s love helped you to love in a more honest and better way?

In our relationships there are countless times when we hurt others and are hurt by others because of our selfishness and pride yet, by God’s grace, we find ways to forgive this hurt and to restore relationship. These graces which we receive and which sustain the best relationships in our lives with our family and friends are outpourings of God’s love restoring us to authentic relationship with Him and with others.

Advertisements

#WMOF2015: Love is our Mission- Created for Joy

World Meeting of Families 2015 logoThis 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

World Meeting of Families 2015 Preparatory catechesis Love is Our Mission The Family Fully Alive Questions and Answers

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)