Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive is a text that was written as a preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families in 2015. The Diocese of Sioux Falls has adapted the text to make it more accessible and easier to use for a small group by developing 10 small group video studies. Each study consists of three short videos intended to open up a different topic or area focused on different aspects of family life. Included with each study is a discussion guide that will get each group going in their discussion.
Study One: Created for Joy – Emily Hoffmann
We are more than an accident of evolution. We are greater than the sum of our biology. God exists. He is good. He loves us. He made us in his image to share in his joy. He takes an active hand in our lives. He sent his only Son to restore our dignity and lead us home to him.
Study Two: The Mission of Love – Reverend Jeff Norfolk
God works through us. We have a mission. We are in the world for a purpose — to receive God’s love and to show God’s love to others. God seeks to heal a broken universe. He asks us to be his witnesses and helpers in that work.
Study Three: The Meaning of Human Sexuality – Joe Rutten
The tangible, earthly, corporeal world is more than inert matter or modeling clay for the human will. Creation is sacred. It has sacramental meaning. It reflects God’s glory. That includes our bodies. Our sexuality has the power to procreate, and shares in the dignity of being created in the image of God. We need to live accordingly.
Study Four: Two Become One – Travis Benson
We are not made to be alone. Human beings need and complete each other. Friendship and community satisfy that longing with bonds of common interest and love. Marriage is a uniquely intimate form of friendship that calls a man and a woman to love each other in the manner of God’s covenant. Marriage is a sacrament. Married love is fruitful and offered without reservation. This love is in the image of Jesus’ faithfulness to the Church.
Study Five: Creating the Future – Dr. Chris Burgwald
Marriage is meant to be fertile and to welcome new life. Children shape the future, just as they themselves are shaped in their families. Without children, there can be no future. Children reared with love and guidance are the foundation for a loving future. Wounded children portend a wounded future. Families are the bedrock for all larger communities. Families are domestic churches, places where parents help children discover that God loves them and has a plan for each child’s life.
Study Six: All Love Bears Fruit – Reverend Christopher Cowles
Not everyone is called to marriage. But every life is meant to be fertile. Every life has the power and the need to nurture new life — if not through bearing and raising children, then through other vital forms of self-giving, building, and service. The Church is an extended family of different vocations, each distinct but each needing and supporting the others. Priesthood, religious life, and the celibate lay vocation enrich, and are enriched by, the witness of the married state. The different ways of being chaste and celibate outside of marriage are ways of donating one’s life to God’s service and the human community.
Study Seven: Light in a Dark World – Eric Gallagher
At its best, the family is a school of love, justice, compassion, forgiveness, mutual respect, patience, and humility in the midst of a world darkened by selfishness and conflict. In these ways, the family teaches what it means to be human. However, many temptations arise which try to coax us into forgetting that male and female are created for covenant and communion. For example, poverty, affluence, pornography, contraception, philosophical and other intellectual mistakes can all create contexts that challenge or threaten healthy family life. The Church resists these things for the sake of protecting the family.
Study Eight: A Home for the Wounded Heart – Brooke Schmidt
Many people, especially today, face painful situations resulting from poverty, disability, illness and addictions, unemployment, and the loneliness of advanced age. But divorce and same-sex attraction impact the life of the family in especially intimate ways. Christian families and networks of families should be sources of mercy, safety, friendship, and support for those struggling with these issues.
Study Nine: Mother, Teacher, Family: The Nature and Role of the Church – Jon Konz
The Church has institutional forms because she must work in the world. But that does not exhaust her essence. The Church is the Bride of Christ, a “she,” not an “it.” In the words of Saint John XXIII, she is our mother and teacher, our comforter and guide, our family of faith. Even when her people and leaders sin, we still need the Church’s wisdom, sacraments, support, and proclamation of the truth, because she is the body of Jesus himself in the world — the family of God’s people writ large.
Study Ten: Choosing Life – Jon Konz
God made us for a reason. His love is our life mission. This mission enables us to find our true identity. If we choose to embrace this mission, we will have a new perspective on many issues, not just the family. To live the mission of the domestic church means that Catholic families will sometimes live as minorities, with different values from their surrounding culture. Our mission of love will require courage and fortitude. Jesus is calling, and we can respond, choosing lives of faith, hope, charity, joy, service, and mission.