Witness of God’s love begins with the family

November 27, 2018

The family makes the invisible visible in the world. As the “domestic Church,” the family is a living reflection of the triune God — a communion of self-giving love. Through the Sacrament of Marriage, a couple in their sacrificial and complete self-gift of themselves to each other, are a witness to God’s unconditional love and bear fruit through their parenthood of either their own natural children, adopted children, or spiritual children.

As the Church, families gather “together to form the people of God, and who themselves, [are] nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ” (CCC 777).

The family, as domestic Church, is the means that God forms His people through their sacrificial life of love for each other and their neighbor; thus, giving witness to the world of the love that Jesus Christ has for the Church. Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of the Diocese of Detroit says: “The family is the primary social unit in which life in Christ, the life of the Church, is experienced and lived.” 

The mission of the family is to extend the Kingdom of God on earth by making the world a place where Jesus Christ is known and loved, so that as many people as possible are brought with us to eternal life. Beginning with our own families, we enter fully into the sacramental life of the Church, and become a family of joyful missionary disciples where Jesus Christ’s sacrificial and suffering love is the principle that governs the family life and home. 

The family culture is one where all decisions about activities and finances are made according to the mind of Jesus Christ, and the mutual gift of self is the norm for all the relationships in the family. This social unit of joyful missionary disciples becomes a vehicle that God uses to transform the world. 

Our challenge as Catholic families is to strive to proclaim the Gospel through our joy and our very being so that our faith is revealed through our authentic witness. Many families need to see what a family of joyful missionary disciples looks like in the world today. Through our interactions with others, Catholic families can witness what it looks like to relate to one another and how to raise children according to the faith.

Our interactions come in many forms. We can invite families over for dinner and pray the Rosary afterwards. We can invite young adults to join us for Sunday Mass. Our family can be a witness through an ongoing service opportunity. These are a few ways that a Catholic family makes the invisible visible in the home, parish and community today. 

Suzanne Perez is the director of youth ministry at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Katy.