- Consider scheduling persons who are trained in Natural Family Planning (teachers, users, promoters or clergy) to be on hand for discussions after Mass. In some cases, you may want to use segments from a DVD to show couples talking about living the Church’s teaching in their marriages. Sample clip http://newcatholicvideo.org/?page_id=108
- Provide a means for individuals to get NFP class information so that they can follow up more privately since they may not have the time or may be embarrassed to talk to NFP teachers after Mass. Refer to the Fertility Awareness Calendar for opportunities (enclosed).
3) Include educational resources in the entrances of your church and put inserts in the Sunday bulletin.
Call your Office of Marriage, Family and Youth Ministry for more information.
4) Have a “date night” for couples to celebrate the gift of life and love in their marriage.
Today, we hear in Matthew’s Gospel of Jesus speaking of the “weeds among the wheat.” In the Gospel, Our Lord makes it clear that the “enemy” sows the weeds (Mt 13:28) among the fruit of the wheat, which Jesus himself sows within the world. As the saints inform us, we cannot be naive about the fact that we do spiritual battle with the “enemy” who sows the “weeds” of evil in our lives. For his part, St. Peter warns: “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1Pt 5:8). While we should avoid paranoia regarding the “enemy,” or the Devil, we also should have a healthy sense of prudence regarding his attacks as well. As St. Paul notes in Ephesians: “Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph 6:12). When dealing with the Devil, then, we strive for the balance of prudence without paranoia. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us, this is the meaning of the last line in the Our Father (no. 2851): “Deliver us from evil.”
The parents of the Virgin Mary, Joachim and Anne faced many day-to-day challenges of providing for their family. They sought strength from God in their marriage and family through prayer and devotion. I often tell couples that when they teach their children to pray, they are actually teaching their grandchildren to pray, because their grandchildren will first learn about God from their children. Just as Jesus “grew and became strong” in the Spirit over time (Lk 1:80) as their grandchild, the holy influence of Joachim and Anne on Mary ultimately impacted Jesus’ own life as well.
A contemporary struggle is being open to life, to having children, especially in marriage. Natural Family Planning (NFP) teaches a couple the profound gift of their spouse, the faith, and even their own sexuality as God created it. NFP has also helped couples conceive a child after years of infertility. Over time the couple learns to have the marital hearts of Joachim and Anne as they recommit their lives to each other again every day, “In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.” Sts. Joachim and Anne, pray for us!