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A reflection for National Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week, July 24 – July 30, 2016

Our God is a God of life! He does not desire death, destruction, or suffering. He only wills life for each of us.

The recent news of the terrible acts of violence in France, Turkey, Texas, and elsewhere makes us question this because God does, in fact, allow bad things to happen. This can be difficult to understand. How do we make this more understandable?

Think about it like this. Would you want the love of your life to love you in return only because he or she doesn’t have the freedom not to love you?

I think I can speak for all of us–we would want him or her to be free to love with us. No one intends to force another to love them–that’s not real love. God desires real love too!

Free will and sin cause all the painful things we have been seeing lately on the news and have been experiencing in our day to day lives. These effects of original sin continue through our choices and the choices of others.

We have an opportunity to participate either in building up life through creation or bringing more sadness and death into the world. Choosing life means we become co-creators and co-workers with God in bringing forth love into the world. This is the most privileged task anyone of us will experience during our limited time on earth.

How can we choose life and be a co-creator?

For all of us: We must celebrate and give reverence to God’s vision of human sexuality. We must make a deep commitment to being in conversation with God daily through prayer.

For those married: Choosing life looks like respecting the dignity of the human person (your spouse) within the context of marriage and family life. We can also be open to life through Natural Family Planning and recognize the value of born or unborn children.

If a married couple is unable able to conceive, this means finding ways to give forth life to the world in other ways, e.g., adoption, fostering, mentor programs, sponsoring a child from overseas, providing extra support to family members, volunteering, reaching out to the elderly or other vulnerable in your neighborhood, etc.

For those single: Choosing life means being faithful to your single state in life and giving yourself as a complete self-gift to the Church and community in the ways you are called through prayer.

So what doesn’t honor and give forth life? Typically, these are the things we bring to Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Things like:

• Using profanity and saying hurtful things to our spouses and children
• Not loving our neighbors and ignoring them when they’re in need of our help
• Objectifying men and women by consuming pornography
• Not observing chastity according to our state in life
• Not being open to children and contracepting marital relations

Reflecting on the Gift of Life

National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the gift of life, our openness to life, and to what degree we are co-creators with God in bringing forth life in our world. Consider it as an opportunity to briefly examine the conscience by focusing on the ways we stand for life or perhaps fail to do so.

Let’s ask ourselves: Am I open to conjugal love? Do my spouse and I contracept by using a condom or the pill? Do we have a regular dialogue about our bodies and practice NFP? Do we view pornography together? Do we practice Internet Accountability?

While the similarities may not seem obvious, pornography and contraception both oppose what Natural Family Planning seeks. They steal life by sterilizing the sexual act. Further, both man and woman objectify the other, and neither honors the dignity of the other.

In Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis tells us Natural Family Planning is “to be promoted, since ‘these methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor education and authentic freedom’” (CCC, no. 2370).

Pope Francis also shares that children are wonderful gifts from God and joys for their parents and the Church. Through children (life), God renews the world!

Let us resolve to choose life and be apostles for a civilization of life and love!

Start with Three Steps

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Written by Amanda Zurface.

Amanda is the Catholic Campaign Coordinator for Covenant Eyes. She holds a License and MA in Canon Law and BA’s in Catholic Theology and Social Justice.

Amanda has served in various roles within the Catholic Church both in the United States and internationally. She resides in Washington Court House, Ohio.

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