Wow – today I am in amazement of Catholic families, and parents who authentically live marriage and family life as a path to holiness.
I talked with a wonderful young Catholic mother a few days ago. She is a sponsor for one of the women who is in the RCIA process. I think that today, one of the hardest things about becoming Catholic, must be changing your mentality and lifestyle in the area of family planning. This is particularly hard given that there are plenty of Catholics out there who do not live this faithfully, which is a damaging counter-sign to those who are being initiated into the full life of the Church.
Thank God for the wonderful, faithful Catholic couples in our parish. We have one lady who gives a session each year to the catechumenate on how natural family planning is a way of holiness within marriage. Sometimes it is a Cross to bear, it undoubtedly involves much sacrifice, that, as an unmarried person I cannot fully comprehend. But it is powerful when a woman speaks about the truth of this Church teaching – not simply because it says it in the Catechism – but from her and her husband’s experience of living it, year after year. From the standpoint of experience, and perhaps also of struggle and suffering as well as joy, there is more chance that the candidates will hear this as something authentic and true.
It’s one thing to know this teaching as true, and another thing to put it into practice in your life, especially if your spouse is not hot on it. This is why the encouragement, honesty and witness of the sponsor is paramount. Hence the gratitude I felt when I chatted to one of our sponsors who is giving just this: prayer, encouragement, support, advice. I hope that a year of prayer, grace received in the liturgy, teaching, witness from others, and love from within the community will be enough for the people in initiation to put out into the deep and learn to trust God in this area of their life – that his plans for them are not plans of disaster, but for hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).