Love Made Fruitful
Submitted by Deacon Jim Krupka
In his message on Love in the Family, Pope Francis says, “Love always gives life.” In a world where death comes from a lack of love in many ways, the Pope looks to the family as a place where love can shine in giving life. Fundamentally, as husband and wife, we give life to each other. Beyond the internal energy we get as we give love, there is scientific evidence of the life-giving nature of marriage. The National Center for Health Statistics in 2017 reported that married men had an age-adjusted death rate of 943 per 100,000, compared to 1,735 for lifelong bachelors and 1,773 for divorced men. Women show the same pattern.
As we marry, we promise that we will welcome new life. As we prepare for marriage, we anticipate the day when it will no longer be just two, but more within the unity of a family. Children welcomed into a family experience love in its most generous form. They receive love before they are born. The Pope says, children “are loved before having done anything to deserve it.” This is a model of God’s love for humanity.
Families bring joy to the Church. The Pope goes as far as to highlight large families as a joy. A large family is an expression of the fruitfulness of love. This is somewhat countercultural. In western society, birth rates lag the level needed to replace ourselves. However, it is important to understand that the Church’s appreciation of large families does not mean that the Church disregards family planning. Nor does it mean that the Church advocates unlimited reproduction or lack of awareness of what it takes to raise children. On the contrary, the Church teaches couples to be empowered to cooperate with God naturally in responsible parenthood. The responsibility considers the social and demographic realities as well as individual family circumstances. The Church offers resources to help couples live up to their obligation to wisely and morally plan their family. Many couples and their families are living proof of the joy of family possible when God is a full partner. God established marriage and family as the foundation of society and His Church. Blessings to all who have said “yes” to this call.