Christian spouses: Teachers and witnesses of truth

| Amanda Zurface | September 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

WMFlogoClose your eyes and envision St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, and insert your family into the scene inside the piazza. Do you feel the colonnade — the arms of the basilica ­— wrapped around you?

That is the Church embracing you, similar to when your family sits in the pews of your parish church. The family has a special place in the heart of the Church.

When we use the phrase “the Church,” we don’t always recognize its great theological depth. Christ’s total self-gift for our salvation formed the Church, the bride and spouse of our Lord. Jesus, as bridegroom, laid down his life for his bride. The baptized make up the Church as one body with Christ as our head.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that one becomes a member of the one body, not by physical birth, but by being “born anew” in a birth “of water and the Spirit” — by faith in Christ and baptism. Through baptism, while becoming members of the Church, we also become her sons and daughters. By taking on this new identity we have done nothing, but have received everything. Our new identity flows from Christ’s love. This love gives the Church her identity as the bride of Christ.

The Church herself proclaims this love. It is as real as the love between a husband and wife. This love and communion between Jesus and the Church teaches and reflects the truth about what marriages and families are and the mission to which they are called. Because of this, it is appropriate that the Church is also called our “mother,” “teacher” and our “family of faith.”

The Church, as our mother, teaches and forms us in the identity we receive at baptism. Her pastoral duty and responsibility is the salvation of the people of God by preserving the truth of the Gospel and seeing that the baptized abide in the truth.

The Church helps the family, guiding it in a mission of love. Through the Church, the truth of love is revealed and purified. The Church assists the family in building a home for love, and she teaches the family the moral truths of the Gospel. Marriages and families are responsible, through membership in the Church, to proclaim and live the Gospel. If the Gospel does not motivate the family, strengthening marriages and parents’ relationships with their children, or if the family quits sharing Christian love with the world, the Church loses her relevance in society.

Following our Church as mother and teacher, Christian spouses are called to teach and witness to the truth in the world. May our marriages and families be witnesses, keeping the Church relevant in society and guiding others in our ongoing mission of love.

Zurface is the coordinator of justice, marriage and family life in the Office of the New Evangelization for the Diocese of Crookston.

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Category: World Meeting of Families