“Love, Naturally!” is this year’s theme for the annual Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, July 21-27. Sponsored by the US Bishops Conference, the week seeks to celebrate God’s design for married love, the gift of life and to raise awareness of Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods. NFP methods are in harmony with Catholic beliefs respecting, “…the God-given power to love a new human life into being” (see U.S. Bishops, Married Love and the Gift of Life). This week also sees the anniversary of Pope Saint Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae, issued on July 25, 1968. This encyclical is a prophetic witness to the meaning and regulation of human life and God’s design for married love.
The US Bishops website is chock full of valuable and insightful information about married love, human life, natural family planning. Check it out at www.usccb.org . You can also find some resources at the Church entrances such as the pamphlets ~ The Beauty of God’s Design ~ Understanding and Appreciating Humanae Vitae and Natural Family Planning from the Couple to Couple League. This is a topic of great importance not just to married couples and those planning to marry but to families and society in general.
The great Pope Saint John Paul II in his groundbreaking series of conferences (now in book form), Theology of the Body, explicates in a most profound way, both personally and scripturally, the mystery of Human Love in the Divine Plan. The teaching there is available now through many different speakers and authors in written, audio and video formats. The Augustine Institute which sponsors enriching content online through FORMED and Ascension Press who has done so much to make the Theology of the Body material accessible for all ages are two other resources as well. You can access these through the internet ~ https://www.augustineinstitute.org and https://ascensionpress.com. The parish subscribes to FORMED which means you can have free access by going to www.formed.org and using the parish code: HJEEM3.
Our human sexuality is a participation in God’s power of creating. It is a sublime power that involves the intimacy of a man and a woman with the divine. It can easily be misunderstood and misused in a world which sees sexuality as pleasurable self-interest. However, love, and the expression of love on every level, is a call to self-sacrifice so as to will the good of the beloved in accord with God’s created plan. Cooperating with God’s Will brings forth the personal fulfillment and joy which our hearts long for. Conceiving new life is an awesome privilege and a sacred responsibility always, and the Church is here to help guide the way.
God bless you, God love you,