“Today, beginning the Year 2000, we cannot but wonder about the future: what direction will the great human family take in this new phase of its history?”- St. John Paul II, January 1, 2000
Twenty years later, how has the family evolved?
The family is in crisis
According to CARA, the number of American Catholics getting married every year, compared to two decades ago, has been cut in half. Cohabitation has increasingly replaced or delayed marriage. Fewer people are getting married and fewer are having kids. In the last decade alone, we’ve witnessed the attempt to redefine marriage and the explosion of gender ideologies. One could easily slip into despair at the current state of affairs. Yet we know where sin abounds grace abounds all the more.
As John Paul II famously noted “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.” The way people view marriage and family has an enormous effect on the culture at large.
In his “Letter to Families” John Paul II addressed the importance of the family’s place in society and some of the ways it was under attack. In many ways, the crisis of marriage and family today is even more challenging than when John Paul penned his letter in 1994.
What can we do about this? How can we safeguard the family?
Pray the Rosary
Our Lady of Fatima gave us the rosary and asked us to pray it every day for world peace. Throughout the ages, many military triumphs have been attributed to the power of the holy rosary. Faithful people devoted to reciting the Rosary prayer were victorious despite insurmountable odds.
The success in the fight for family in the modern world should be no exception. “The revival of the rosary in Christian families,” John Paul II said, “will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis (of the family)”.
Fatima visionary Sr. Lucia predicted that marriage and the family will be the battlefield in the final war between Good and Evil.
“The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” – Sr. Lucia dos Santos
Let’s commit to pray the rosary daily for the intentions of marriage and families, with confidence in its power to bring about positive change.
Learn and live the Theology of the Body
At the heart of the attack on marriage and family is the attack on the human person. Having identified the crisis of the modern world as a crisis of the human person, John Paul II gifted the Church with his catechesis the Theology of the Body (TOB). In short, he provided an in-depth study on the meaning and purpose of man. Even more so than when TOB was written, modern culture does not recognize the truth of the human person.
As a basic anthropology of the human person, John Paul II’s TOB is not only for those who are married but for everyone, no matter their age, relationship status or vocation. TOB helps us to grow in love for God and each other and to come to a better understanding of who we are as creatures made in God’s image and likeness.
Through the study of TOB and a prayerful attempt to live it out, we can and our families can model the difference that is needed in the world.
Combine the Rosary with Theology of the Body
Imagine the power of praying the rosary while meditating on core principles of JPII’s TOB! Ruah Woods Press (RWP) has published two sets of TOB inspired rosary meditations. Theology of the Body Rosary Meditations and On a Mission to Love.
I wonder, what direction the family will take in THIS new phase of history. I pray for a global conversion – that marriage and families will gain the social and political respect that they deserve. Won’t you join me in praying the rosary for marriage and families?
Happy New Year friends!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
St. John Paul II, Apostle of the Human Person, pray for us.
Cover photo: Carolyn Svellinger and family by Corynne Staresinic