Family life is a wonderful, wild experience. Our family members help us to love and learn, they share in our joys and sorrows, and they help us on the road to heaven. But the life of a family isn’t meant only for it’s members. It is meant for the whole world.
In a recent Catechetical Corner on Go Ask Your Father™, Msgr. Stuart Swetland drew from Catholic Social Teaching to explain the mission to which God has called each and every family.
“We are told in the compendium of the Church’s social teaching that Christian families have a particular role in the mission of giving witness to the Gospel of life,” he said. “The family is the fundamental building block of our society. The family is the domestic church, the church at prayer, the fundamental building block of the Church as well.”
Drawing from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Msgr. Swetland quoted paragraph 231, which says:
The family founded on marriage is truly the sanctuary of life, “the place in which life — the gift of God — can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth.” Its role in promoting and building the culture of life against “the possibility of a destructive ‘anti-civilization‘, as so many present trends and situations confirm,” is decisive and irreplaceable.
“I think that is such an important point, and I like that term ‘anti-civilization,'” Msgr. Swetland said. “Because I think people don’t understand that the attacks on life are attacks on human civilization. And the ideologies and the movements which are permissive of immorality – when it comes to what families are, or that directly permit the taking of innocent human life – they’re anti-civilization. Those ideologies are anti what it means to be a civilized people.”
Spelling out what specific mission God calls families to, he continued in quoting paragraph 231, saying, “Christian families have then, in virtue of the sacrament received, a particular mission that makes them witnesses and proclaimers of the Gospel of life. This is a commitment which in society takes on the value of true and courageous prophecy.”
In explaining the mission of family life, Msgr. Swetland then encouraged families to be bold in living out their mission, saying. “So families, see yourselves as prophets of the Gospel of life, the civilization of life, to an age that needs to hear that Gospel proclaimed, and to see it concretely lived out in your families.”
Listen to the full reflection below: