Family ministry benefits from reflection on the story of the Church. The Church is like a family. I am reminded of this mystery when my five married children and their offspring get together at my house (this doesn’t happen too often since it is a mob of 30 people!). All my children do not agree on every point. They have different philosophies of parenting. They have different opinions about how to relate to their parishes, though all of their children are baptized. Some of my children are homeschoolers, while their brother loves his public school. One of my children opposes vaccination; the others are cannot imagine not immunizing their children. When they were a bit younger, we would have some heated discussions. But as they have matured and their own children are growing, they have put away their swords and let other people be themselves. They love each other and want to stay connected and make their relationships work. They agree on the essentials, the “dogmas” if you will, of family life, like love, mercy, listening, and forgiving. The basic truths that we all agree to and hold dear keep us together as the years go by.
For me, this illustrates my feelings about the Church. The basic truths of our faith keep me connected to those who have gone before me. I love the Church like a family, and I want to stay connected, even when it is uncomfortable. Just like my adult children, I find that my Profession of Faith includes my assent to love, mercy, listening and forgiving. I recognize that I do have a responsibility to do my part to nurture my relationship with the Church and to be an authentic agent of passing on the Tradition by living it authentically.