On Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Holy Family and in my homily I reflected on the astounding fact that Almighty God chooses, from the beginning of human history, to use the family to accomplish his will in the world.
Get your head around this: He doesn’t choose to primarily use Emperors and Potentates, Presidents, Monarchs, Prime Ministers and Politicians. He doesn’t use military might, political influencers, economic muscle or any of the other instruments of power. Instead he chooses a family.
First he chooses Adam and Eve. He brings them together and gives them the first commandment: “Be fruitful and multiply”. So begins his use of the human family as his secret agency in the world. He calls Father Abraham and promises a great family and through Abraham’s progeny blesses the world and through the vagaries of human history eventually he sends his own Son to be born into a human family. Then through the new Covenant he blesses the world through the family of the church.
The marvelous truth is that he still does this. It is through the family that he pours his grace and love and light into the world.It is through the family that we first learn (or don’t) the difficult lessons of love. If it’s through the family that we are blessed and bless. It is through the family that quietly, locally, at the smallest level, he continues his work of redemption in the world.
Sister Lucia of Fatima said the final battle between Satan and the Church will be the family. That is why in our own lifetime we are seeing this colossal combat unfold. After the Second World War the West witnessed the invention of the effective and cheap contraceptive pill. This, along with other forms of contraception and the legalization of abortion, for the first time gave ordinary human beings the power to turn off or on the baby machine.
This total reproductive choice meant the sexual act no longer necessarily involved procreation. The conclusion is unavoidable that artificial contraception and abortion reduced the sexual act to simple action of self induced pleasure. When that happened, eventually we forgot what sex was really for, and when that happened we naturally began to forget what the reproductive organs were for. Rather than being organs for procreation they became no more than biological sex toys. No wonder that magazine was called “Playboy” because that’s what sex became: a way for boys to play with toys.
As we forgot what the male and female organs were for we gradually also forgot what a man and a woman are. This follows logically: What is this man-part for? I don’t know. What is this lady part for? I don’t know–or if I know theoretically I do not behave as if I know what it is for. Consequently, being confused about the biology I am soon also confused about the identity that goes that biology.
If the man part is for pleasure and looking at another man is more pleasurable to me than looking at a woman, then (since the man part is only for pleasure) it feels right to use it for pleasure with another man. Likewise a woman with another woman, and when those confused roles are acted on it is only logical that confusion about what a man IS and what a woman IS follows, and this is expressed individually with particular persons who are confused about whether they are a man or a woman.
Thus unfolded Satan’s most comprehensive attack on the human family–be destroying the biological reality of how a family comes to be.
What is the answer? I doubt whether sermons, lectures, article and books on the subject will make much impact.
What makes an impact is a local community where the family–real loving, beautiful families–are a local reality. Not preaching or condemning those who disagree–not condemning those who live differently, but simply getting married, staying married and working together as a community to nurture, build up and sustain the family because this is God’s work in the world, and by doing this work we are doing his work for the redemption of the world and salvation of souls and (on a pragmatic level) for a stable, virtuous society and a chance at ensuring an enduring human happiness.