Wake Up The World: The Family Fully Alive

07-12-2015Weekly ReflectionFr. Tim Christy

What does it mean that masculinity and femininity are complementary?
How does God reveal us to ourselves in the image of marriage?
How is the family a place of encounter, a school of holiness, and a way of the cross?

These are the types of questions that were answered at the Wake up the World: The Family Fully Alive presentation series, held in anticipation for September's World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia with Pope Francis. The series, comprised of three nights of presentations and reflections, focused on the goodness of sexual identity, the profundity of marriage, and the dignity of the family.

In the first presentation, entitled Sex: Beauty and Strength, Megan Murphy, creator of an Adult Faith Formation series named "Catholicism and Culture: Your Search for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful", presented a vision of the human person that today is largely counter-cultural; masculinity and femininity are complementary to one another, with the characteristics of man and woman designed by God to work in harmony to affect the good of marriage and the family. Sean M., a first-time visitor to St. Magdalen's, shared his experience of the presentation. "I was struck by how complementarily between the sexes is deeply engrained in nature. The male is inclined to naturally be the protector, while the female is the nurturer. Likewise, it is human nature to feel a certain way, as male and as female." Anthony Sarno, another visitor to Saint Magdalen's, shared his similar thoughts. "It was interesting to hear about the differences between men and women as being complementary, rather than negative or conflicting."

Father Tim Christy, in the second presentation, illustrated how man and woman, united in the sacrament of marriage, reflect and radiate the love and unity of the Holy Trinity to the rest of the world. In the presentation, entitled A Hidden Sweetness: The Power of Marriage, Fr. Tim described how God reveals our mission of sanctification to us through the sacred image of holy matrimony. Jesus, from the beginning of his ministry at the Wedding of Cana, shows us that He is going to "marry" us. As the Bridegroom, called to sacrifice his life for the Church, Jesus shows us what it means to lay down one's life for the beloved.

The third and final presentation, The Family: Cradle of Life and Love, focused on the gift of children, the fruit of marriage and the family as the source of life and love––the domestic church. Bill Donaghy, an instructor for the Theology of the Body, Institute, international speaker, and teacher at Immaculata University, proposed marriage as a place of encounter with a mysterious God who is "entirely other". Quoting Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Donaghy affirmed that "love is the very process of passing over, of transformation, of stepping outside the limitations of fallen humanity… into an infinite otherness." As families live out this transforming encounter with God as it flows from marriage, centered in self sacrifice, and humbly receptive to the awe-inspiring gifts of God, then the family truly fulfills its mission as the "Domestic Church," truthfully expressing its reality, as Saint Pope John Paul II says, as "the great mystery of God."

Lord Jesus, as we prepare to welcome our Holy Father to Philadelphia in September, let us remember the sublime dignity that You have given to each of us, created in your image as male and female. Help us to respect the holiness of marriage and to cherish our families as the Domestic Church, the great mystery of God. Send your blessings down upon St. Magdalen de Pazzi Parish as we continue to echo Jesus' call to all, "Come and Follow Me." Amen

If you would like to learn more about the presentations from the Wake up the World: The Family Fully Alive series, video clips will shortly be made available to view online at our website.