Much has been said about the Synod on the Family, underway in Rome right now. Ink has been spilled, opinions made, worry and confusion abound. We hear the drama between bishops, opinions from both sides of the spectrum. Frustration, fear, hope and excitement, all tied together in these historic weeks.
As a young, newly married couple, my husband and I have followed the Synod with interest. How is this going to impact us? Will it have a lasting effect on marriage in our culture?
Take a look at pretty much every aspect of our culture right now: brokenness, anger, depression, abortion, children without parents – to name a few. If happiness is the object, Can we admit that what we are offered isn’t working? We need the church, offering the strength of history and beauty, a reason in all of the suffering.
As a lay Catholic looking in, it is easy to get caught up in the drama. Before we freak out about the whole thing, just because it doesn’t jive with our familiar lives, lets take a step back and appreciate a few things.
1. Things could be much worse. Ok, that might seem like a gloomy take on things to you, but knowledge of history really helps to put things into perspective. We aren’t down to one bishop barely there at the foot of the cross, watching as the others ran away. We are not living during the Protestant revolt, Western Schism, or Early days of persecution. Could it come to that? Absolutely. But stop making yourself a martyr before you need to.
2. Unsettling debate has come out of the Synod so far, but so has encouraging news. An interesting piece, originally from Catholic News Service, notes how speakers at the Synod are calling for clarity on the churches position on contraception. “If couples, as well as clergy, could at least find illumination and support, that would already be a great encouragement! Often, contradictory advice only aggravates their confusion. We ask, may the magisterium hasten to give priests and faithful the major lines of a pastoral teaching program to help people adopt and observe the principles laid out in ‘Humanae Vitae,’” Can we get an amen?
3. To remember that reform of the family starts with you. Do you talk about faith around the dinner table? Do people see authentic Christian love when they see you and your spouse? Are you people of joy? The key to Christian witness is joy. What does your witness say? We need couples to embrace their love and the challenges and joys of marriage and family life.
4. Pray. As the bishops meet in these weeks and as the groundwork from the synod is laid out in the coming year, we to need to be praying. I hope every Catholic out there is fervently praying for our leaders and for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Let’s do something together shall we? Pick your favorite (or maybe better, least favorite) participant involved in the Synod, and pray to their guardian angel each day.
After all, the church is over 2,000 years old. Why should us mere mortals be so afraid that the church founded by Jesus Christ can’t exist without us and our opinions.