Last week, Archbishop Aquila released a pastoral letter, "Family: Become What You Are." Aside from an awesome title, this letter is a shot in the arm for those of us in families. (Oh wait, that's ALL OF US.)
So your homework this summer, no matter how busy or distracted or disinclined you are, is to read this...twice. Read it once and then read it again, slowly. What's God saying to you through Archbishop Aquila's words? Could there be inspiration for you? How can this letter impact your family?
But wait, there's more. The Archdiocese of Denver has a few supporting resources that are nothing short of rockin' awesome. Because how else is your family going to become what you are? These are tools to get you there.
Tips You'll Use Right Away
First, there's the video, "5 Ways to a Stronger Family."
Eating and Faith Go Hand-in-Hand
Next, we have a tool that every parent needs: "A Month of Dinnertime Conversations." Have you ever wondered how you are supposed to instill faith in your children when you don't know enough yourself? Do you feel intimidated by the immensity of your responsibility? Are you just plain unsure?
- Name your favorite thing about being Catholic.
- God gives each of us our own Guardian Angel to guide us through life. How do you think your Guardian Angel could help strengthen our family?
- What is your favorite prayer?
I plan to share these far and wide. I've had so many parents make comments to me about how they so appreciate my work as a catechist. I try to remind them (probably too much) that my work is supplemental, supportive, secondary to the work they do. And here's a tool for them to use that's easy and effective. Booyah!
Pray the Family Rosary
And finally, a resource that I appreciate so much it brings tears to my eyes: "Family-Friendly Scriptural Meditations on the Rosary" (in both English and Spanish).
Am I the only one who sees the family rosary as this insurmountable hurdle? Oh, I know, I know. I should be praying it with my family.
And now, now, I just might. This four-page pdf (one page for each set of mysteries) includes short meditations for each mystery of the rosary. They're written with families in mind. And by "families in mind" I mean "people who aren't necessarily thrilled to be taking time to do this and who maybe don't have a clue what these mysteries mean."
The idea is that someone in your family would read this before you pray the prayers of the decade. They're easy to read and yet thought-provoking for every age.
For example, here's what's included for the second Luminous Mystery, the Wedding at Cana:
The second Luminous Mystery is the Wedding Feast of Cana, where Mary teaches us one of the most important lessons in life. She tells the servants at the wedding feast to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. In our lives, are we willing to do whatever Jesus tells us to do? Let’s ask Mary to pray with us that we might have the graces necessary to do whatever Jesus calls us to do in this life, as well as the ability to trust in Mary’s intercession for us, as Jesus answered his mother’s request that day in Cana.
If you get to the point (or are already at the point) where you want to highlight the fruit of the mystery, they're also included.
Summer Reading You Deserve
I leave you with this excerpt from the Archbishop's letter:
When a husband and wife give of themselves and share love and truth with each other, they are able to reflect the image of the Holy Trinity. This sharing in life and love is in turn echoed in the hearts of their children and helps bring the Kingdom of God to earth. God created the world and the human race through the gift of his Word and the breath of the Spirit. In a similar way, men and women are able to participate in creation by bringing children into the world through their mutual consent and one flesh union.
Sadly, our society has lost this understanding of marriage. Instead, the culture has dramatically shifted to promoting the individual and his or her supposed rights, often at the expense of the family. The idea of a “sincere gift of self ” – even in the context of marriage – seems irrelevant
and a distant reality. In contemporary Western culture, marriage and the family have suffered the consequences of this shift, and no one has been hurt more by it than children, who deserve the committed, selfless love of their mother and father.
Seriously, go read it and put these resources to work in your family. You won't be sorry you did.
Copyright 2014, Sarah Reinhard
About the Author
When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.