“As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the world in which we live.”
This proclamation was made to the world twenty-four years ago by Pope John Paul II while on apostolic pilgrimage in Western Australia (Perth). Promoting God’s plan for human love, marriage and family was a life-long mission of his priesthood and pontificate.
It’s been twenty-nine years since the December 15, 1981 promulgation of Familiaris Consortio from which the Holy Father drew many of his prophetic insights delivered in the Advent homily in Perth, among them: “The family is the domestic church…the home is the Church in miniature. The Church is the sacrament of God’s love…the family is a community of life and love. It educates and leads its members to their full human maturity and it serves the good of all along the road of life. The family is the ‘first and vital cell of society’…The future of the world and of the Church, therefore, passes through the family.”
November 30, 1986 – The economic, social and cultural transformations taking place in our world are having an enormous effect on how people look upon marriage and the family. As a result many couples are unsure of the meaning of their relationship, and this causes them much turmoil and suffering. (Pope John Paul II – Perth)
December 11, 2010 – Marriage and the family remain under constant attack. Now, as then, the enemies are hell-bent on destroying all that is holy and good. Their foot-hold is beneath the flesh. Dark forces have crippled the will and infiltrated the heart. Armies of principalities, powers and wickedness have wreaked havoc on generations of humanity breaking through our last line of defense to the mother’s womb – the sanctuary of life.
Our adversaries are as close as the air we breathe. Their agents operate covertly and openly – with consent. Many are intimately known within marriage and the family by name: Contraception, Sterilization, Abortion, Domestic Violence, Individualism, Relativism, Hedonism, Addiction, Pornography, Adultery, Pride, Unforgiveness, Resentfulness, Militant Feminism, Materialism, Idolatry, Deceit, The Occult – Divination of the Future (fortune telling – tarot cards, palm reading and horoscopes) Ouija boards, Witchcraft, and so on. The war continues but here is the good news:
Where Sin Abounds, Grace Abounds Even More (Romans 5:20)
Family prayer and devotion, particularly the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, fasting and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – the Eucharist – are highly recommended by the Church as means by which one can harness the necessary grace to put on the Armor of God (Eph 6:10-13) and fight for marriage and the family. Please see Spiritual Armor by Mark Mallett.
Television – Less Is Much Better
Many of the problems facing contemporary families, especially in economically developed societies, result from their increasing difficulty in communicating. Families seldom manage to come together, and the rare occasions when they do are often taken up with watching television. (Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginsis Mariae, 41)
During the 18th Annual Summer Institute on Marriage and the Family at Christendom College, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell lamented “These days there’s more devotion to Lost, 24, or American Idol than there is to the family rosary.”
“Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain linking us to God”
The Rosary is by its nature a prayer for peace, since it consists in the contemplation of Christ, the Prince of Peace, the one who is “our peace” (Eph 2:14)…As a prayer for peace, the Rosary is also, and always has been, a prayer of and for the family…The family that prays together stays together. The Holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together. Individual family members, in turning their eyes towards Jesus, also regain the ability to look one another in the eye, to communicate, to show solidarity, to forgive one another and to see their covenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God. (Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginsis Mariae, 39-41)
The Rosary is not exclusively prayed by Catholics. Catholics and non-Catholics can and do derive much grace from praying the Rosary. Eighteen of the twenty mysteries of this beautiful, contemplative prayer are “highlights” of the birth, life, mission, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ taken directly from the bible. The last two mysteries – The Assumption of the Blessed Mother into Heaven and The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth – are dogmas of the Catholic faith.
Mary is the woman of Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12:1. Mary is the daughter of God the Father, the predestined spouse of the Holy Spirit and mother of His only begotten Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. All Christians, if not for anything more than love of the Most Holy Trinity, are called to love and honor Mary for her full worth. We should never apologize for the Blessed Virgin Mary or deny her a special place in our heart and our family.
The Word became flesh in the womb of Mary. Through Mary, God became a member of the human race. Mary’s mission, then, on earth, as now, in heaven, is to lead and to unite all humanity to Jesus. No other person in all creation knows Jesus more intimately and the way to His Sacred Heart better than His own mother. Pray the Rosary.
Hope for the Hopeless
Admittedly, there are couples in marriage for whom daily prayer is not the complete solution to every problem. For those who have thought about separation or divorce – those who have shut down, feel lost, alone, frustrated, hurt and angry – for those most wounded, and most precious couples, there is a lifeline – there is RETROUVAILLE.
Retrouvaille is a program to help couples heal and renew their marriages. To learn more about this incredible program and to find Retrouvaille in the area nearest you, go to www.retrouvaille.org or, in the United States, phone 1-800-470-2230.
What must you do to defend your family? What will you do?
Where a lone man may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
Additional Sources: Family Weapons by Mark Mallett
Copyright 2010 Brian K. Kravec