by Mark Moitoza, D.Min., AMS Vice Chancellor for Evangelization
God made us for a reason. His love is our life mission. This mission enables us to find our true identity. If we choose to embrace this mission, we will have a new perspective on many issues, not just the family. To live the mission of the domestic church means that Catholic families will sometimes live as minorities, with different values from their surrounding culture. Our mission of live will require courage and fortitude. Jesus is calling, and we can respond, choosing lives of faith, hope, charity, joy, service, and mission. (Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive, Chapter 10)
As a new school year begins many practical tasks come flooding back into the household reminding the entire family that summer is now over. Whether we have school-aged children at home or not, the movement into September shakes us out of the lazy days and back toward the task lists of life. Throughout the daily routine families are continually reminded to choose life – that is the mission of love that God invites each one of us to embrace.
Recently, while shopping for new shoes with my children I was reminded of the influence of peers. Certain shoes were not acceptable or fashionable. Others that were desired cost far too much, especially for a growing child who is not likely to spend more than a few months in them before a new pair would be required. While this concern about what others think is a normal process of adolescent development it can easily take over as way to live if the family is not embracing the faith. These small catechetical moments offer opportunities to discuss what is really important in life. While many seek recognition and honor to feel good about themselves, Catholics are instead called to serve others.
Each day families have the opportunity to choose life. Living the faith means making choices that move beyond us. As chapter ten of the preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families notes, “Catholics, then, have strategies and precedents for living the faith in a world which does not understand their beliefs or agree with them, (Love Is Our Mission, p. 111.) When we choose something based on our beliefs rather than the influence of society we are becoming a witness to what we believe. The world needs examples of families that express and share love both within the home and outside of it too.
As the World Meeting of Families Congress in Philadelphia and the Papal visit approaches this month make time with your family to pray for all families. Let others you know at work and school that you will be following the Holy Father’s visit on television or via social media. Ask family members what images or statements strike them as interesting or profound. Look for ways that those in need are cared for during this Papal visit, and be mindful that the ways we care for one another in the family is how we are also called to care for our neighbors. These catechetical conversations help the love of the domestic church to find its fulfillment in the mission to the universal Church. It is in this way that we are continually called to be choosing life.