FOR MARRIAGE AND SPOUSAL LOVE (Part 9 & 10)
FOR MARRIAGE AND SPOUSAL LOVE (Part 9 & 10 )
9) NFP TEACHERS
The lion’s share of the work in retrieving God’s plan for marriage, spousal love and family will be done by the laity, and especially by those who are trained teachers of NFP. NFP is more than fertility awareness, or a morally good method for responsible parenthood. It is a way of life that endorses all the values of God’s plan for marriage and spousal love. There is much for engaged couples and newly wed couples to learn. Couples who prepare engaged couples for marriage, and NFP teachers invest many hours of their time and much emotional energy for their student couples. In effect, they are preparing their young charges to become witnesses to God’s plan for marriage and thus become counter cultural.
Teachers of NFP should regard their work as a special vocation. They are dealing with a central dimension of a young couples’ relationship. A marriage is consummated by the spousal act, and each spousal act, in a certain way, is a renewal of the marriage covenant. Learning NFP is only one part of learning God’s plan for spousal love. It is not uncommon for a relationship of trust to develop between NFP teachers and their students. When problems arise in a new marriage, the newly weds often appeal to their NFP teachers for coaching them through their difficulties.
If we are to break through the 50% divorce rate syndrome, it will happen because many dedicated Catholic couples, who already enjoy a good marriage, are willing to help young couples discover what they have already discovered. This will require a great investment of time, emotional involvement, and dedication.
Most dioceses have a shortage of NFP teachers. But this can be rectified when it becomes public knowledge that all the clergy are taking a clear stand for God’s plan for marriage and spousal love. Then many faithful couples will seriously consider volunteering themselves to help with building up strong marriages and healthy, happy families. This is the lay apostolate in its most obvious expression. The laity is 99.9% of the Church. There are abundant resources in every diocese to draw upon for additional NFP teachers.
10) Social Communications
Catholic radio and diocesan newspapers have their own role to perform in the implementation of God’s plan. Catholic radio broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can bring well-informed resource people to the microphone, and make their message accessible to millions. It has multiple opportunities to keep the values and issues related to NFP before the people of God. These values need to be explained, and related to real life. There are so many different facets to building a strong marriage and robust relationships. There are so many complications to successful family planning. Raising children and creating a healthy, happy family present thousands of new challenges. All of these are very discussable on the airwaves by competent people.
Catholic newspapers can run regular columns on these issues. NFP Outreach provides a weekly column called NFP Q&As. Each column approaches a different aspect of the benefits coming from NFP and the harms resulting from contraception and sterilization.
In today’s world, the Christian is surrounded by a highly secularized culture that is promoted relentlessly by the secular media. This must be counteracted by a culture that is permeated with the values of the Gospel. Social communications are instruments that Catholics must employ to get their message out to their own people, as well as to defend their positions against critics and vilifiers. At the same time, social communications can be used for the new evangelization, for bringing the values of the Gospel to the contemporary culture.