Love – it’s the greatest! For the family to be who we are – an icon of the Blessed Trinity, where the constant exchange of love and life exists, a husband and wife must unite to build their family into a domestic church. Raising a family is the greatest work that a husband and wife will do together. Raising a holy family is possible only with the Holy Spirit who is the Sanctifier.
There are several reasons to aspire and to commit to transform our families into domestic churches which simultaneously address the individual, the family, the Church, and the world. Love is the best reason because as persons made in the image and likeness of God, each member of our family has a deep need to be loved and a strong desire to love.
One important reason to build the domestic church is to assist each family member to grow in personal holiness. For the husband and wife, Christian marriage challenges each of them to give more and more fully of themselves to each other in love. As parents, they are further called to provide sacrificial love for their children. With a profound and tender love for their offspring, parents strive to provide for their children’s greatest good and happiness.
Only in helping a child to open the door of his/her heart to Jesus and begin a lifelong friendship with Him can a child’s deepest need for love be satisfied and his/her innermost desire to give of himself/herself in love be realized.
A domestic church makes it possible for the Faith to be integrated into all aspects of a family member’s mind, heart, will and imagination and not be treated as an isolated subject of religion. Faith in God as its center draws all areas of a disciple’s life into an integrated whole.
Another good reason is to strengthen the bonds of unity within the family and the Church. The spiritual and moral development of family members bring order and peace in family relationships as they persevere to put into practice Jesus’ teachings of forgiveness and reconciliation, generous service and laying down one’s life for another.
The instruction and exercise of charity direct daily home life. Family members learn how to live with God and each other in a miniature society. Inevitably, the domestic church increases the strength and unity of the universal Catholic Church because the family is its basic unit. Building a strong family is a significant service to the Church in our time.
An additional reason is to carry out the Church’s mission to bring the Gospel of Jesus to the world. With ongoing conversion and transformation by Christ, the family not only becomes a credible witness to the love and mercy of God but it also becomes a channel of God’s love to others as they allow God to use them as His instrument.
The witness serves as an example to others that God is indeed alive and active today. Being an instrument of God, their service brings Christ to those in need of hope, healing, and care. A marriage centered on Jesus is a missionary marriage that begins its ministry within the home and goes out to others.
Our lives consist, not only of a series of years or days, but also of relationships. Relationships make life beautiful and meaningful.
As an icon of the Blessed Trinity, a family of Faith consists of persons equal in dignity who freely and faithfully give and receive love to each other in a manner that brings forth life and generously flows out to others.
We aspire for our family to be a domestic church because a domestic church allows each member of the family to grow in personal holiness, to achieve unity with each other and the Church, and to be witnesses to the love of God in the world.
God is love. He is the beginning, the Source of love for our families; He is also the end because our mission is to love Him and others. The life of faith which began in our families continues to grow and leads to meaningful lives and to union with God.