Synod on the Family 13: The Dynamism of the Family

window from insideYou can read the full synod report here. On this site, we’re taking it carefully, one section at a time. I had to read over today’s material carefully …

13. Since the order of creation is determined by its orientation towards Christ, a distinction needs to be made without separating the various levels through which God communicates to humanity the grace of the covenant. By reason of the divine pedagogy, according to which the order of creation develops through successive stages to the moment of redemption, we need to understand the newness of the Sacrament of Marriage in continuity with natural marriage in its origin, that is, the manner of God’s saving action in both creation and the Christian life.

So, if I’m reading this right, the synod bishops are speaking of the reality that God indeed works through natural marriage, as well as the sacrament. And we can say that as long as we perceive the difference in the two, presumably for those who have contracted marriage outside of the Church.

In creation, because all things were made through Christ and for him (cf. Col 1:16), Christians “gladly and reverently lay bare the seeds of the Word which lie hidden among their (sisters and brothers); they ought to follow attentively the profound changes which are taking place among peoples” (Ad Gentes, 11).

This seems significant for the acknowledgement that in the natural world, in the field of evangelization, we believers have a task. Our work is to encourage growth in seekers and non-believers, and show them that God has touched them and is in their lives to a person just because of how we were made for God. If not a foundation, it is at least a starting point, a stepping stone.

In the Christian life, the reception of Baptism brings the believer into the Church through the domestic church, namely, the family; thus beginning “a dynamic process [which] develops, one which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God” (Familiaris Consortio, 9), in an ongoing conversion to a love which saves us from sin and gives us fullness of life.

This is true for infant baptism, but not necessarily true for adults, or even all adolescents. Given that distinction, yes, we can see the role of the domestic Church as more than a conduit, but a dynamic setting in which faith is nurtured just as it can and should be in the world. And perhaps we can take that less for granted among our own children. And even parents.

Oh, and the vote was 174 in favor, 7 no, and 3 abstained.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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