Family: Be a Light in the Darkness

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Let Your Light Shine

This past week, the Archdiocese of Detroit launched an initiative called Unleash the Gospel Challenge. The six-day challenge is an opportunity to learn about the plan for the transformation of the Archdiocese into a “joyful band of missionary disciples.” (For more information about Unleash the Gospel, see our previous blog post Families: The center of evangelization efforts in the Archdiocese of Detroit.) It is hoped that those participating in the challenge will hear a personal invitation from God to encounter Jesus, grow as His disciples, and become witnesses to God’s everlasting mercy.

The family is the center of this initiative. Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron offered the following vision for families in his pastoral letter:

Families who, having embraced their role as the domestic church and in connection with other families and single persons, actively seek the spiritual and social renewal of their neighborhoods, schools and places of work. Such families and individuals would display a strikingly counter-cultural way of living: grounded in prayer, Sacraments and attention to Scripture; unusually gracious hospitality; a capacity to include those on the margins of society; and joyful confidence in the providence of God even in difficult and stressful times. Unleash the Gospel, p. 32

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says “the family home is rightly called ‘the domestic church,’ a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity” (CCC, 1666). When your family is a school of virtue and Christian charity, people take notice. They will see that your family is different. They will be attracted to what you have.

St. John Paul II is his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) had this to say about families:

The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason too it can and should be called “the domestic Church” (Lumen Gentium, 11). All members of the family, each according to his or her own gift, have the grace and responsibility of building, day by day, the communion of persons, making the family “a school of deeper humanity” (Gaudium et Spes, 52): this happens where there is care and love for the little ones, the sick, the aged; where there is mutual service every day; when there is a sharing of goods, of joys and of sorrows. Familiaris Consortio, 21

St. John Paul said the family is to be “a school of deeper humanity!” Life in our country is out of control. The daily news is replete with examples of how we have forgotten what it means to be human, to treat each other with dignity, love, and kindness. If we are to change the course of this nation, it is going to be done one family at a time, living out the Gospel in their families, neighborhoods and communities.

In his pastoral letter, Archbishop Vigneron charged families to reclaim their identity to God through the following action plan: attending Sunday Mass as a family, daily scripture reading, regular family meal times without distractions and family prayer time, frequent participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, modeling Christ’s love by helping neighbors in need, and for parents to be the primary witnesses of the faith to their family.

The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life. Gaudium et Spes, 47

God is asking families to take to the lead in bringing the Gospel message to the world. Will you be the light in the darkness?

Prayer to Be a Light in the World

Lord, true light and source of all light, turn our thoughts to what is holy and may we ever live in the light of your love. Cast out from our hearts the darkness of sin and bring us to the light of your truth. Fill us with your holy light that we may be your witnesses before a world darkened by sin and death. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love and You shall renew the face of the earth. This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Families: Transform the World

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JPII Families Become What You Are

Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching…always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2, 5

Do you see yourself as an evangelist, sharing the Gospel in the world so in need of God’s love and mercy? The Gospel is “good news,” that God became man in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, that he died for the forgiveness of our sins, reconciling us to the Father, and that He rose from the dead. Every baptized Christian is called to share this good news with the world.

This is especially important in the family. Parents have the primary responsibility of bringing their children up in the faith. The most important document to come out the Second Vatican Council speaks of this important role of husbands and wives…

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It Was Worth It!

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Broken Family_03

Are you suffering difficulties and strife in marriage, even separation and divorce? God can heal your broken relationship.

Rose and I (Dennis) were both widowed. Before the death of my first wife, Therese, I experienced God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness in healing after divorce.

By faith, in confidence, with perseverance and obedience to God, my marriage was saved from the pit of death. God is faithful. He never gives up on any of His children. Was the pain of my divorce worth it? Was standing eight years for the healing of my marriage worth it? Were the sorrow, pain and loneliness worth it? Was having my marriage restored only to have my wife die two short years later worth it? Yes, by the grace of God, it was worth it!

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Forgiveness and Healing in Marriage

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JPII Forgiveness

In our marriage coaching, we frequently see unforgiveness as a major obstacle for couples in achieving the intimate and fulfilling relationships that they deeply desire. Unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger towards your spouse poisons the relationship. We have heard it said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. True healing can only take place when offenses are forgiven, and forgotten, never to be brought up again as a weapon against your spouse.

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Extraordinary Witness of Conjugal and Familial Spirituality: Louis and Zélie Martin

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Three years ago today Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux were canonized by Pope Francis. The couple was the first to be canonized together as husband and wife, giving testimony to their “extraordinary witness of conjugal and familial spirituality,” said Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

Saints Louis and Marie Zélie Guerin Martin were married in 1858. The couple had nine children, but four of them died in infancy or early childhood. All five of the surviving children, including St. Therese, entered religious life, highlighting the important role parents play in their children’s human and spiritual upbringing. Zélie Martin died of cancer in 1877, at the age of 45; Louis died when he was 70 in 1894.

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The Rosary: A Powerful Weapon to Protect Families

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Two of the Three Fatima Children, Jacinta Marto and Lúcia dos Santos

The Church dedicates the entire month of October to Our Lady of the Rosary. It was during October, 1917 that the last of six apparitions of Our Blessed Mother to three shepherd children occurred at Fátima, Portugal. In her appearances to the children – Lúcia, Francisco, and Jacinta – the Virgin Mary requested conversion, prayer, particularly the recitation of the Rosary, and sacrifices on behalf of sinners.

Ralph Martin, president of Renewal Ministries discussed the urgent message of Fatima during a recent episode of the EWTN TV series The Choices We Face. The TV series began in 1985 and is currently the longest running Catholic television program in the world. We highly recommend that you watch this important message:

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Respect Life Sunday

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Mother Teresa Abortion 3

Today in the United States is Respect Life Sunday. Every life is cherished and chosen by God. The psalmist speaks of God lovingly choosing us into being, “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!” (Ps 139:13-14). When more than 50 million babies have been sacrificed on the altar of freedom of choice, it is increasingly important for Christian men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers to help others encounter God’s transforming, life-giving love and to defend the sanctity of every person’s life, at every stage and in every circumstance.

“A great prayer of life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.” St. John Paul II, The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae), n. 100.

Respect for Life Prayer

Heavenly Father, the beauty and dignity of human life was the crowning of your creation. You further ennobled that life when your Son became one with us in his incarnation. Help us to realize the sacredness of human life and to respect it from the moment of conception until the last moment at death. Give us courage to speak with truth, love and conviction in defense of life. Help us to extend the gentle hand of mercy and forgiveness to those who do not reverence your gift of life. To all, grant pardon for the times we have failed to be grateful for your precious gift of life or to respect it in others. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, in unity with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Thérèse: Do All for the Love of God

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St Therese Quote 2Today the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the “Little Flower.” St. Thérèse (1873-1897) was a French Carmelite nun who died in obscurity at the age of 24. Her autobiography Story of a Soul detailed her “Little Way;” doing everything, even the most common and menial tasks, for the love and glory of God. Her thoughts resonated with both religious and laity alike, quickly expanding her renown. She was canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. She is one of only 36 Doctors of the Church.

St. Thérèse determined at a young age that she desired to be a great saint but felt she was not capable of the mighty deeds of the great missionaries and martyrs for the faith. In developing her “Little Way,” St. Thérèse said that even the slightest acts of penance or charity for the good of souls, if done well “with love for God and neighbor,” yields countless graces and spiritual merits.

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God Loves a Hungry Heart

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St Vincent with Beggar

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul (April 24, 1581 – September 27, 1660). The experience and needs of the poor turned St. Vincent de Paul’s heart and energy to a life of care and compassion for those in need. St. Vincent’s example is especially important today when not only is there suffering and starvation in the world, but so many people are lost and suffering from a spiritual starvation.

We are all beggars before God. Our hearts and hands are empty. We have nothing to offer to God but our love for Him. He sent His Son to die a criminal’s death for our salvation. He rose from the dead and set us free from Sin and Death. We beg Him for the gift of faith which will lead to eternal life with Him in heaven.

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