The World Meeting of Families is the biggest gathering of Catholic families in the world, and it occurs once every three years. The previous World Meeting of Families was held in Milan, Italy; this year, it will be held in Philadelphia at The Pennsylvania Convention Center. From September 22 to 27, 2015, families from around the world will gather in Philadelphia to pray, learn, and celebrate the gift of the family. Pope Francis will celebrate the concluding mass. As we await the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit, let us reflect on the theme of family life.
In the beginning God created humankind in his image and likeness. Male and female he created them. The human being, with its two sexes, is God’s creation. The human being is not created as a single entity. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” Therefore, Adam greets the woman with a jubilant word of welcome. Man and woman are given to each other as a gift from God.
As an image of God, both man and woman have the same dignity. There is no place for any discrimination of women. Man and woman are created for love and in the image of God who is love. The love between man and woman does not simply revolve around it‐ self; it transcends and expresses concretely in the form of children who proceeds from their love. Children need protective space and affective security in the love of the parents; on the other hand, children strengthen and enrich the bond of love between parents. Children are a joy and not a burden.
Marriage can be hard even when you love the person you are married to. When you spend a lot of time with another person, even someone you are very fond of, conflicts are inevitable. To sustain a marriage, a friendship or any relationship requires effort. You will likely feel that you giving more than you are getting and the other person will likely feel the same way. You have to be willing to forgive, to put others first, and to work on your own flaws and failings.
People change. Relationship changes. Circumstances change. If you truly love each other, you can make adjustments as your relationship matures and encounters hardships. What should not change is your level of commitment to each other and the desire to be the best partner you can possibly be. Best marriages are those in which both the husband and wife are pretty much dedicated to putting each other first. Marriage becomes rich when you don’t take other for granted, when you pay attention and invest your time and energy in your relationship.
Fr. Jilson George