“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family”
By Dr Rachel Bradley, Director of the Office of Life, Marriage and Family
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” – St Teresa of Calcutta
But St Teresa hadn’t met my family you may think!
It’s very easy to let minor annoyances and frustrations eat away at the love that binds us together as a family.
The truth is that without a strong culture of marriage and family life our society is in deep trouble and we have to make nurturing our close family relationships a top priority.
Renewal of marriage is essential to the evangelising mission of the Church. Marriage is an image of Christ’s love for His people, it is supposed to point us towards understanding what sort of relationship God wants with us.
As St Catherine of Siena said, God is a crazy lover. He is not some distant being, imposing rules on us from above. He wants to marry us! Often, our image of God is very closely bound to the way we received (or didn’t receive) love from our parents.
We know that wounds inflicted, often unknowingly, by our parents in childhood, can affect us in profound ways for our whole lives. For example, we might have great difficulty in really believing that God is faithful and can be totally trusted if we were abandoned by a parent when we were young.
God knows that we need grace to overcome the woundedness that can lead us to lash out at others.
We need grace to really learn how to love each other in our imperfections. Luckily, He has given us what we need (as He always does in abundance) through the Sacrament of Matrimony. When we are married sacramentally, we have lifelong access to all the graces poured out from Jesus Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. What is impossible for us to do in our humanity, is made possible through His grace. We can love, even when it is hard.
When we show this to the world, we witness to the stability of love. If parental love can endure all the slings and arrows of life, perhaps we can start to believe that God truly loves us, not because we are good but because we are His.
Let’s spend some time and effort investing in our closest relationships and pray that our marriages can become an ever-clearer image of God’s love for his people and be a light for others.