2013 Calendar reflections February

FAMILY LIFE DESK – DEPARTMENT FOR EVANGELISATION – SA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE
P O Box 941, Pretoria, 0001, Cel 082 552 1275 trowland@sacbc.org.za also www.marfam.org.za/blog
2013, THE YEAR OF FAITH AND THE FAMILY : FAMILY MOMENTS – FAITH MOMENTS
FEBRUARY THEME: FAITH AND LOVE
A selection of reflections from the faith sharing booklet FAMILY MOMENTS – FAITH MOMENTS with a focus on catechesis.

33. FEBRUARY THEME. FAITH AND LOVE. We experience human love, from parental love to romantic love, sexual love and friendship, as specific unique expressions of love. In that way we grow in understanding of God who is love, who loved us and continues to love us unconditionally whether we are deserving of love or not. Romantic love is the popular February focus but this month we also focus on marriage which uniquely images the love of the Trinity as a community of love. Trust in one another, faithfulness and reconciliation in marriage are all food for reflection.
“Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father; we too might walk in newness of life. Through faith, this new life shapes the whole of human existence. To the extent that he freely cooperates, man’s thoughts, affections, mentality and conduct are slowly purified and transformed on a journey that is never completely finished in this life. “Faith working through love” (Gal 5:6) becomes a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the whole of man’s life. (cf Rom 12:2) PF6
35. 2nd CANDLEMAS. Simeon on holding the baby Jesus at the presentation spoke of him as “the light to the Gentiles”. This is the reason for the link with candles and the name CANDLEMAS that originated in some European traditions. What traditions associated with light are celebrated in our cultures today? Hindu people have festival of light. Is Christianity a true light to the gentiles? Mary was also told that “a sword would pierce her own heart.” She, and all parents do experience pain and suffering many over times because of their children. They need the light of faith and of love.
“Now master let your servant go in peace according to your word. For my eyes have seen your salvation which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples, a light for the revelation to the gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32 Children in their own way make their parents holy. GS48

36. 3rd 4th SUNDAY. Fr George was happy that the wedding feast at Cana and now another popular wedding reading from 1 Cor 13 had been prescribed for this year. “Of course those qualities of love do not apply only to married couples,” he said, “ but in a particular way couples can be prophets in the world, reading the signs of the times and modeling the qualities for their own families and for the world. Doesn’t the world love to see a happily married couple?” He asked the congregation. Some smiled a bit cynically, “How many of those are there around?” Esther thought to herself. “St Paul speaks of the three great virtues; faith, hope and love, the greatest of which, he says, is love. Lord, help me to overcome this devil of jealousy in our relationship. That will help to revive my love and grow my faith.”
Love is always patient and kind, it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited. 1 Cor 13:8
The union of man and woman has always been threatened by discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation. According to faith the disorder does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relationship but from sin. As a break with God, the first sin had for its consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman. Nevertheless the order of creation persists. To heal the wounds of sin man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them. From CCC 1606-8
37. 10th 5th SUNDAY. Called by Christ to save all humanity. WORLD MARRIAGE DAY. Fr George had invited couples to witness on this day during the homily. Joe and Tracy who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary shared, “Being apostles is not our own choice but it is God who chooses us in our unworthiness and makes us worthy. We experienced a calling from God, a call to unity and to deeper faith and love for one another and through that for God. We love those words from Isaiah, ‘Who will be my messenger? Whom shall I send?’ Isaiah 6:8.and we try to answer ‘Here we are Lord, send us,’ even though we have to work hard on our relationship. It is our belief that God has called us that keeps us in that cycle of building and reconciling.”
The Paschal Mystery of Christ’s cross and Resurrection stands at the centre of the Good News that the apostles and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. CCC 571

41. 13th ASH WEDNESDAY. This day is the beginning of Lent and a day of fast and abstinence. But that is not really what Lent and fasting is about. The gospels tell us that after Jesus’ baptism he went into the desert and fasted for 40 days where he was tempted. Temptation is not only about being faced with something bad or wrong but an examination of life goals and the importance of making a positive choice. Doing this can be part of a Lenten observance as individuals or together as a family. Read the account of Jesus’ temptation in Luke 4:1-13. Our sins result from our consenting to temptation, we therefore ask our Father not to “lead us into temptation. This means “do not allow us to enter into temptation. CCC 2846
43. 17th LENT 1. JESUS’ TEMPTATION. During Lent the parish held a “Family Mission with a Difference” which was led as always by a priest but there were also activities in which families participated. On the 1st Sunday members of the Block 6 SCC group had made a big poster showing a typical picture of the devil which they waved around between showing slides of different temptations people face in daily life. “Have you ever walked down a road, sauntered through a shopping mall, sat at home or watched TV and come face to face with the devil?” Portia asked. Cartoons might show him like this strange creature with horns and a forked tail carrying a pitch-fork. Have you met many like that recently? Not likely, I’m sure.” Others shared:
“My devil is selfishness and fear. I want to have my own way but am afraid to upset my friends.”
“My devil is sex. Everybody is doing it. Why not me too?”
“My devil is greed or materialism. I always want more, more money, more clothes, more food, more drinks…”
“My devil is neglect. I don’t care about my work, my housework and my job like I used to.”
“My devil is laziness. Everything is too much hassle.”
“My devil is drugs. I can’t say no any more.”
“My devil…. my devil…. my devil…… So each one shared until they finally asked together. “What’s yours?”
Fr George summed it up. “Our devils are the temptations to turn away from God, from good and to live on bread alone and hold others in our power. Yes, the devil is alive and well in 2013. Right here.”
In the petition in the Our Father ‘Lead us not into temptation’ we ask God “do not allow us to enter into temptation” and “ do not let us yield to temptation.” God cannot be tempted by evil and he tempts no one. He wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. CCC 2846.

44. 24TH LENT 2. TRANSFIGURATION. On this Sunday the groups taking part in the “Family Mission with a Difference” focused on children. Abraham was promised many descendants and so that started the group discussions. One said, “I think the promise that you will accept children from God should be scrapped, It should be your own choice.” Another:“I love Jason, but trying to bring him up on my own is really hard work. I sometimes wish I hadn’t had him.” Josua and Priscilla waited till others had had their say and then they shared their story and their concern over their apparent infertility. “We didn’t want to have to wait as long as Abraham and Sarah,” she laughed. “We considered different options but were concerned about the methods used in fertility treatment. Most often people try to stop having more children and they worry about how effective Natural Family Planning is. We looked at it from the other extreme and discovering exactly when Priscilla’s fertile time was helped us to conceive. Our baby is due in three weeks time and we can’t wait.” There was some lively discussion and some deep personal sharing on the question of contraception and Natural Family Planning and all agreed it was no easy subject. “Children might be ‘the crowning glory of marriage’ as we are told in Gaudium et Spes 48, but this crown does come at a great cost, financial and emotional. However there was unanimous agreement that the “transfiguration” or mountain-top moments experienced with our children e.g. birth, baby mile-stones, successes at school and sport, or reconciliation with a teenager or a child’s wedding added something very precious to marriage and to parenthood. “This is my Son, the chosen one. Listen to him” Luke 9:35

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