July is a time for families to settle into the slower rhythm of summer and relax. It is the traditional month to hit the pause button at work and escape into a three day weekend or a week- long vacation. It is a time to celebrate family and life in its full. Truly, there are few things in life that can beat a circle of lawn chairs filled with loved ones who are chatting up old memories that bring smiles to every face.
As you and your family slow down over the next few weeks and enjoy each other’s presence, let me suggest something that you might want to celebrate during the last full week of the month; the beauty of God’s plan for the creation of new life.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated July 22-28 as National Natural Family Planning Week. This is the time to intentionally celebrate God’s exquisite plan to create human persons as male and female. In His wisdom, God gifted the world with two distinctly different ways to be human.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that “Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. “Being man” or “being woman” is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator. Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity “in the image of God.” In their “being-man” and “being-woman,” they reflect the Creator’s wisdom and goodness. (CCC 369)
It continues by saying, “Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” All human generations proceed from this union. (CCC 2335)
This is what we celebrate during National NFP Week. Every person on earth comes from the union of a mother and a father and is intended by God to enter the world as either a male or female. The genital sexual expression between a husband and wife has great significance in both its natural design and its power to create new life.
So, as you sit amongst your loved ones, your family and friends, take the time to appreciate God’s plan that brought you to life. Celebrate the power and tenderness of God that is reflected in the complementarity that exists between a man and woman. And, give some thought to ways that you can learn more about the natural and healthy ways to plan for new life.
For more information about Natural Family Planning please visit; www.diolc.org/nfp.