In order to prepare our hearts for the World Meeting of Families and the anticipated visit from Pope Francis to the United States, we as a team are reflecting on a catechism on family life entitled, Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. Each week we will reflect on one chapter from this catechism. You can learn more about the World Meeting of Families at WorldMeeting2015.org.
WEEK 6: All Love Bears Fruit – Reflection by: Jace Bravo
“Both Holy Orders and Marriage confer a special grace for a particular mission in the Church to serve and build up the people of God”
As a newly married Catholic man, it gives me chills to realize this. The Almighty One in whom made the heavens and the earth has assigned us the mission to build His Church and flood heaven with souls!
Unfortunately, our culture teaches us that we should look past or just ignore the “means” and be utterly confused with the “end”. But take a breath of fresh air because the real means and end is this: we are innately built to communally share His love in order to storm heaven with more souls.
There, that looks much better!
A daily meditation and question I ask myself is how can I share His love today? I found a great start to the answer recently working with Confirmation candidates. During my interviews with these candidates I asked them, “What is your favorite bible verse?” They don’t tell me, “Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, mmmm that one touches the deepest part of my soul!” As awesome and jaw-dropping as that would be, most if not all, of these candidates say to me, “The verse when Jesus washes the feet of his disciples.” This gesture of love is God, getting low to wash the muck off OUR feet in order to give us the dignity and love that we desire. I mean think about it for a second. Christ (let’s remember, a celibate man) stooped down to wash our feet. This profound message still rings in these teens’ ears. Each year on Holy Thursday the priests of our parishes remove their outer vestments in order to bend low and wash the feet of their parishioners, just as Christ had done two thousand years before. Out of perfect humility, Christ dropped down to his knees and showed us what perfect, unconditional love truly is.
Whether we are male or female, a lay person or in a religious community, God has called each one of us to be an instrument to grow the “family of families” namely the Church. Sometimes talking with teens I hear the question “but how can a religious sister be a ‘mother’?” Love is Our Mission exemplifies the perfect example, ‘Mother’ Teresa. Most if not all people know who Mother Teresa is and what she had done during her life. Yet, why do we give her the name “Mother” if she has no biological children? Yes, I understand it is not unusual to call a religious ‘mother’, but the world knows her as ‘Mother’ because she portrayed Christ’s message of “love your neighbor” with an intensity that a loving mother gives to her beloved children! Mother Teresa “washed the feet” of all those dying, not because she wanted to succeed in becoming famous, but because she wanted that person before her to see the face of Christ.
So, we see how the media has portrayed fatherhood via Pope Francis and motherhood via Mother Teresa, but let’s take a look at how our children and the youth are experiencing motherhood and fatherhood via the parents of society. Here we have parents ignoring their children altogether by offering them up as specimens or we have parents completely forgetting the welfare of their children because they “feel” like they need a change; all the while, their children are completely ignored due to their self-gain.
Now isn’t that something. On one hand, we see ‘parents’ selfishly seeking to become famous by changing drastically, throwing their moral compasses aside and completely ignoring THEIR children; and on the other hand, we have priests, nuns and celibate lay people picking people close to death off the streets, feeding hungry children and, lately, laying their reputation down in order to expose the atrocities happening with the unborn.
This is the society we live in today. People are in such a deep groove that when someone does something as extreme as being celibate for the Lord, everyone shakes their head and says things like “there goes Father what a waste”. But, that celibate Father is going to give his parishioners, no, his sheep, no, his children the chance to encounter Christ face to face in the most real way possible, the Eucharist. That sister is going to bear so much motherly love to her children that they will finally feel loved and not alone.
Pope Francis, Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Jose, Bishop Joe, Father Frank, Sister Mary, Deacon John, you and I are individually called to build a family that worships the King of kings, the Lord of Lords, the Alpha the Omega, the one and only, God.
Jace Bravo is the Youth Minister and Confirmation Coordinator at Holy Trinity Church in San Pedro. He recently got married to his lovely wife, Stacy Lona. They both are recent graduates of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Read More –
Week 8 A Home for the Wounded Heart
Week 7 Light in a Dark World
Week 5 Creating the Future
Week 4 Two Become One
Week 2 The Mission of Love
Week 1 Created for Joy