EXPANDED OUTLINES FOR THE SECOND QUARTER CHOOSE LIFE CATECHESIS
* This expanded outline is a guide. You do not need to use all ideas, examples or Scriptures. Choose what will be most helpful for your household/group. What is important is that you have material you can work with.
|TOPIC 2: CHOICES THAT KILL THE FAMILY|
Last meeting, we talked about the DEATH Choices that Kill the SELF. These are the choices we make or other people make that bring death to us, to others and to loving relationships. They stem from a culture of death that is prevalent in the world and that influences us to be selfish and unloving. But if we let God be God, then we choose life for ourselves and for others.
Just as there are choices that KILL the Self, there are also choices that KILL the FAMILY.
II. The Place of the Family Today
In the first quarter, we talked about what the Christian family is for according to Pope John Paul II. He said that the family has 4 tasks: to love each other, to serve life, to serve the Church and serve the community/society. (Familiaris Consortio # 17)
The family is really important, and both Church and society know that is true.
- The family is created by God to be a person’s first encounter with unconditional love.
- When marinated in an environment of love for years, one learns to bring that same love out to others.
The more one experiences love, the more can give love to others. Our training ground for loving the world outside us is our family. This is where we learn to love unconditionally, to accept people for what and who they are, to learn sacrifice and sharing.
- The family is the domestic Church.
It is a mini version of Church, where we live out the love, joy, hope and life of the Church every time we uphold love and life in our family.
- “The future of humanity passes by way of family.” (EV#94)
Whatever the future of our world will be depends on the climate in our families.
- The more successful families a society has, the stronger the society and the stronger the Church in that society.
Our society and our Church are only as good as the families that compose it. If our families are loving, selfless and life-giving, then our society and our world will be loving, selfless and life-giving.
If our families are detached, selfish and broken (physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually), then our society and our world will also be detached, selfish and broken.
- God has a mission for the family: not just to be a haven of love, but a community of disciples.
It’s tempting to think that our family is where we can run when the world is mean and unkind. But the Christian perspective calls families to be a community of disciples who can go out into the mean and unkind world and share love and kindness with it.
- The Christian family becomes a sign, a beacon of hope to the world of the love of Christ as they (the members of the family) love and serve each other.
– We are called as Christian families to be a sign of Christ to the world. When people see us, they should see the love and life of Christ through us: through our words and deeds, and our attitude of love for each other. (The second century Church Father Tertullian once said: “Look how they love one another,” is what people should say about Christians.)
- The Christian family has a mission to serve the world.
– We are not meant to just keep the love within and become a refuge from the maddening world, but should bring that love out to the world, precisely to spread the love, life and joy to a world that really needs it.
III. The Choices That Kill the Family
- There are choices that we make that kill the family. These choices suffocate both life and love.
- No time together.
– The family needs to spend both quality and quantity time together in order to bond and share life and love together. They need common experiences and a time to communicate their feelings and experiences that occur daily. The family needs to deliberately set the time to be together. It may be a Sunday gathering, a time for rest and recreation, like going to the movies or stage plays together, or serve together, etc.
- No work together.
– The family needs to set common goals together that they can achieve for the good of the family. They must work towards that common goal. Hopefully, a family vision has been set by the family as to what they want to do as a family for the love and service of God.
- No meals together.
– The family needs to eat together. This is the opportunity for greater bonding and a sharing of what transpired throughout the day. It is an opportunity for children to learn values from their parents, for parents to form their children in the ways of God, a time for parents to know more about their kids and for all to know more about each other. For adult children, it is the time to remain connected with one another in the family. It is a time to break bread with one another in the spirit of the Eucharist. You don’t eat with your enemies, but with people you love. As Jesus dined with the apostles at the Last Supper, this became the origin of the Eucharist, a meal of love, friendship, communion and life. When we “break bread” together as a family, we remember the love of Christ in the Eucharist. The family meal can have a Eucharistic meaning that brings us closer to Christ and to each other.
- No prayer together.
Fr. Peyton says, “The family that prays together, stays together.” Without the presence of God in the family, a family cannot be complete. But with God at the center of the family through group prayer, even with problems, the family can weather any storm.
- No commitment to each other.
When couples split up, this is the worst blow for the children. Couples don’t only reflect their break of commitment to God and each other, but their commitment to the family. Nobody wishes that his/her marriage will fail, and while couple break-ups are usually complex and we can never judge people whose marriage didn’t work because we don’t know the story and we will never know what transpired, it must be established that those who suffer the most from this break-up are the innocent children. The break-up can scar them for life. It can make them unsuccessful in their future relationships with the opposite sex.
– The 1991 National Commission of Children report says: “Families formed by marriage, where two caring adults are committed to one another and to their children, provide the best environment for bringing children into the world and supporting their growth and development.”
– Single parent households and broken families can still remain committed to each other, and God journeys with them through their pain and hardship, but the ideal vision of the Christian family, what God has intended, is really for whole families with father, mother and children.
- Christian families are dying. Some of the roots of the death of the family are the following:
- Anti-life mentality because of the fear of population growth. Institutions exaggerate the danger of demographic increase to the quality of life. (FC#30)
Seeing children as a burden rather than a blessing is not God’s way. Psalm 127, 3-5 says: “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing.
The sons a man has when he is young are like arrows in a soldier’s hand.
Happy is the man who has many such arrows.
He will never be defeated when he meets his enemies in the place of judgment.”
(Good News translation)
– Some people think that the world is overpopulated but in Western countries, the problem isn’t too many babies but too few! Some countries have begun the road to extinction, like Japan and Russia. Even in Asia, the population has begun to decline. Demographers predict that the world population will peak in 2050 and begin to decline. (For more information on population, go to http://overpopulationisamyth.com/ for fun 2-minute videos or read “Overpopulation?” by Jacqueline Kasun at
- Anti-family mentality where couples view marriage as simply a union of 2. – Some people think that marriage and love ends with the couple, but this is not the Christian view. There is no family if there are no children. A couple is called to build a family from their love.
- A mentality that having children is a right.
– A couple cannot demand having children. Children are not a right. They’re a gift from God. A sense of entitlement can make the couple selfish, and objectify their children.
– Benedict XVI tells couples who are infertile that the Church sympathizes with them since science has not been able to address the issue.
– Couples who cannot conceive may be lured to choose reproductive technologies like In Vitro Fertilization that kills 80% of the embryos formed from the technology through spontaneous abortions, pregnancy reduction and embryo freezing, with an IVF success rate of only 15-27%. IVF is expensive, painful and complicated. The Church recommends NaPro (Natural Procreation Technology) that treats infertility and keeps the marital act intact. NaPro treats fertility, miscarriages, irregular cycles, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome, postpartum depression, and other health conditions.
3. Modern ideas through mass media that deform family values and degrade the traditional esteem of Christians for marriage, family and human life.
– Right now, families, marriage and the aged are being attacked. Media tries to change Christian values into “modern” ideas of the family, glorifying adultery, promiscuity, same-sex marriages, divorce as acceptable. It makes fun of the Christian family, presenting them as boring, narrowminded and passé.
(For more information, read CBCP, “On Saving and Strengthening the Filipino Family” at http://www.cbcponline.net/documents/2000s/html/2001-familiaris_consortio.html for the Filipino audience. The US Bishops also have a good pastoral message entitled “A Pastoral Message of the U.S. Catholic Bishops to Families On the Occasion of the United Nations 1994 International Year of the Family” available at http://nccbuscc.org/laity/follow.shtml . The European market can stick to Familiaris Consortio.)
4. D.E.A.T.H. Bills (Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control, Homosexual Unions) and especially the RH Bill are being pushed by legislators because of international pressure and funding in the Philippines.
– It is of the attitude that same sex unions are an alternative type of family. The government also has pilot schools currently implementing an RH sex education that fails to inculcate the values to safeguard life and the sacredness of sex, and subtly trains children about their sexual rights (no responsibilities) which is anti-Christian, anti-family and anti-Filipino. (CBCP)
– Outside the Philippines, D.E.A.T.H. forces are even stronger as there are laws that have legalized divorce, abortion, homosexual unions, a proliferation of contraception to control population in the name of reproductive health (that Hillary Clinton wishes to make universally available for all). Reproductive health, Clinton admits, includes abortion. There are moves in some European countries to legalize euthanasia.
- Poverty is the silent killer that forces spouses to separate for work reasons. This OFW phenomenon brings economic prosperity to the country but kills the family in the process. It is at the expense of the psychological health of the children and encourages marital infidelity. (CBCP)
– While economic poverty is not common outside of Asia, marital breakdown and single parenting are top causes of poverty even in the West. At the same time, there are other forms of poverty (psychological, emotional, spiritual) that contribute to breaking the family apart. However, migration seems to be the number one killer of the family.
- Moral degradation due to a materialistic and secularist global culture.
– Such culture is anti-Christian, as it condones live-ins (the unstable union that leads to unstable families), premarital and teen pregnancy, eroticism (XXX films and pornography), the use of illegal drugs that destroy the family, and turns a blind eye on the infidelities of some public officials and media personalities.
- Exclusivist “closed family” mentality where only one’s family matters at the expense of the common good.
– The “closed family” mentality only takes care of whoever is related or part of the family. While it’s good to “take care of your own,” if it means favoring only your family to the detriment of the rest of the community, this is unjust. While more common in Asia, any family can tend to be exclusivist. The Christian view is to consider everyone as your brother or sister because we are all created in God’s image (Gen. 1, 26). In the gospels, Jesus asks “Who are my mother? Who are my brothers? Those who do the will of the Father.” (Mt. 12, 48) And yet Christ treated everyone with love and compassion.
IV. How To Slay the Dragons That Slay the Family
You can choose life for your family. This is how you slay the dragons that slay the family:
- Make TIME for family members.
– Set family dates and one-on-ones and consciously make it a point to bond with them individually and as a family. (Family is more important than work!)
- Make time for family MEALS.
– In the Philippines, in 2009, the Philippine Presidential Proclamation 1895 officially declared the 4th Monday of September as National Famealy Day or “Araw ng Pagkakilala na ang Kainang Pamilya ay Mahalaga.” Lucky Me started this campaign in 2008. This year’s National FaMealy Day is on September 24, 2012.
– While people abroad may not have a national family day, you can choose a date and make it your family’s day!
– Getting directly involved in the lives of our children can make a difference and keep them away from bad barkadas/gangs, drugs, premarital sex and excessive alcohol.
- Make time for family PRAYER.
– Pray for your family, other families (especially those on the rocks), our country, our Church, the intentions of the Pope and the world. It’s never too early to expose your kids to prayer. Let them share their praise and thanksgiving. Let them share their petitions. Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me!” (Lk. 18, 15-17)
– Ask our Blessed Mother to pray with you and FOR you. Our patroness, Our Lady of Mediatrix of Grace is also the Mother of LIFE. She kept the Holy Family together. Prayer builds up the family and strengthens its spiritual bond with God and with each other.
- Set family GOALS. Get everyone involved in the planning for summer family trips, Saturday outings, Sunday lunch, etc. Make visits to the orphanage, Work with the Poor sites and CFC-FFL community gatherings as a family. Live out your family vision. (See the family vision talk in Q1.)
- Be CONSCIOUS of the growing anti-life, anti-family, anti-Christ mentality due to global secularism with the help of media.
– If in the Philippines, study the issues of the D.E.A.T.H. bills, the RH Bill and Sex Education in piloted Philippine Schools. Know the arguments before you form opinions.
– If outside the Philippines, get involved in your parish’s pro-family and pro-life initiatives. (It’s not just all about abortion!)
- EXPAND your perception of family.
– Include the Christian family (We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.) and the human family as your family, and not just your blood relatives and those in marriage.
The family is under attack by forces that want to KILL the family, especially the weakest and least among the family members. You can do your part by saving and strengthening your family and praying for all families around the world. Choose life. Choose family.
Familiaris Consortio “ON THE ROLE OF THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY IN THE MODERN WORLD” by PJP II (1981)
“Saving and Strengthening the Filipino Family: A CBCP Pastoral Statement on the 20th Anniversary of Familiaris Consortio (2001)
FaMEALy Day videos:
- Kainang Pamilya Mahalaga TVC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U2obPUjFx8
- Advocacy TVC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8OeoFg_pEM
- “The Others” (Magsalo) TVC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVsy0n_lEhA
- “PregnantPause” tvc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8NPQfL6LFs
- “Baptism of Fire” tvc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRcF_ElS-qo
- “Mapagbigay” TVC http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=XJp3I6nWRNY
- “Mapagkumbaba” TVC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4UsDPJe2h0&NR=1
What is the most neglected area in your family life (time, work, meals, prayer, commitment)? What can you commit to work on today as a Christian family?