The TIME has come for COOPERATION
László PRIBÉK MSc, STL, STL, SF, PM, marriage- and family theologian
“As the FAMILY goes,
so goes the NATION andso goes the WHOLE WORLD,in which we live.”
/Pope Saint John Paul II, 1986 Perth, Australia/
A fable about the frog
If you put a frog in a pot and heat it on the fire, the frog will not feel the heat and will eventually cook. But if you throw the frog into hot water, it will jump out immediately.
What is the lesson of the story?
If a phenomenon slowly starts to infiltrate our culture, our thinking, our lives, we slowly get used to it and eventually even accept it. But if it comes into our lives with a huge crash, we fight against it.
1. What does a slow fire look like in terms of marriage, sexuality and family?
Marriage and family have been protecting people and societies for thousands of years. It is the smallest constituent cell of society capable of producing human life in a humane way. Marriage and the family were not created by culture, they defined society and culture. Yet today there are some who preach the delusion that the individual is the smallest independent cell in society. But the individual alone cannot produce offspring.
They are trying very gently to keep the fire burning under us, to give us the chance to get used to and accept radical change. They expect us to take steps that will separate us from God and cripple us and our children in our humanity. Very gentle, through the neutral channel of language, they have begun the warming up very slowly. They began to use words we are used to for the same reality with a very different content. The most important of these words are: marriage, sexuality, family. After these words had been softened, came the visual sensitisation. More and more films are showing only the pitfalls of traditional marriage and family, their contrasting possibilities, in a very attractive way. Usually a bad marriage is contrasted with a good-looking cohabitation. These acts of sensitisation are followed by legal changes, which are then helped to spread by serious financial incentives. Today, major institutions such as castles and catalyst centres are supporting this work with billions of dollars. These include the United Nations and its agencies (e.g. UNICEF), the European Parliament and the Commission, many heavily funded NGOs, governments of many countries and even presidents of states who call themselves Christian.
For centuries, the world has known that marriage is not as idyllically easy as some Hollywood movies make it out to be. The apostles of Jesus themselves said that if that is the case, it is better not to marry. People knew it was not easy, but they tried to live it in love. But today, some people question whether marriage and family are necessary at all. Unfortunately, they are making so much noise that everyone seems to agree with them.
2. Pope Saint John Paul II and MARRIAGE, SEXUALITY and the FAMILY
Pope Saint John Paul II was not only a pope and a scholar, but also a spiritual leader and a prophet. That is, he foresaw something that has not yet happened, but will happen. Therefore, he took radical steps in several areas and among these, marriage and the family stood out. Therefore, he wrote a book entitled Love and Responsibility in 1960. That is why he wrote his lectures on the Theology of the Body even before he became Pope. He set up the Pontifical Council for the Family and the John Paul II Institute, which offered postgraduate courses for lay and ecclesial people who wanted to help with marriage, sexuality, and the family. Thus, he convened the first Synod on the Family in the Church in 1980, the summary of which is found in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (FC 1981). This document will be 40 years old in 2021. Its teaching is timelier than when it was published. Yet many are still hesitant to put its teaching into practice in the defence of persons, married couples and families. Familiaris Consortio (family community) emphasized the four general tasks for the family:
1. forming and maintaining a community of persons,
2. serving life,
3. participating in the development of society and
4. sharing in the life and mission of the Church.
The challenges of today are spiritual and spiritual in origin and therefore cannot be met effectively and efficiently by direct material incentives and law alone. While material support can help families’ economic situation, law can provide legal security, but it is the heart of the individual where decision for love must be taken.
The first task is to form and maintain a community of persons. When a man is looking for a woman and a woman is looking for a man in the world to make a lifelong covenant of love with each other, this desire as a compass helps them to search, to choose and to decide. Their mutual attraction, self-giving and acceptance and lifelong decision creates marriage, the institution where they become one, where they experience protection and love, and where they can continually serve each other and together others on their life journey. This fundamental community in which their bodies are there within their spiritual love and, which is also open to the conjugal act. This total self-giving corresponds to the full truth of human person when it is realized in marriage and is also open to the childbirths. Total self-giving cannot be tried, it can only be realized day by day in the security of a definitive decision. To make a total self-giving even when the sky is overcast and even when the sun is shining. Unfortunately, the reality of a person who lives for the other does not come about by itself with our physical birth. It takes constant spiritual attention and effort to continually give our time, our lives, to our partner and to serve them in love. This is not possible without regular spiritual exercises. Ferenc Liszt [the famous Hungarian composer] said that if I miss three days of practice on the piano, the audience will notice, if I miss two days, the professionals will notice, and if I miss one day, I will notice it myself.
If we want to live unconditional love, we must first decide the path of love and live it daily, continuously, in our words and actions. If we are committed to this spiritual journey, it is good to have a “guide”. Spiritual masters can give us practices that help our personality to mature and strengthen us to love more and more.
They help us not to go down dead ends, even when they offer attractive promises. These dead ends can never quench our thirst for love and turn our eyes and hearts towards others. On the contrary, they make us more and more selfish, and our lack of love grows ever greater. This in turn becomes an ever more urgent pressure in our consciousness, demanding immediate gratification. This is the vicious circle that dead ends offer us.
3. Let us unite so that 1000 years from now there will still be chastity, fidelity, love and MARRIAGE, SEXUALITY and FAMILY according to God’s will.
If we accept that HUMAN PERSON is a wonderful reality existing in the complexity of body and soul, male and female, as the image of God, then it is not enough to help this mystery, which is complex in many ways, along only the physical dimension alone. It is as if in a four-cylinder car we could be satisfied with the operation of only one cylinder. Spiritual help in the areas of marriage, sexuality and the family is particularly relevant today, because there are very serious forces trying to lead us astray from the path God has given us and demand that we and our children deny our humanity. These forces are spiritual in nature.
The author of this article has developed the HOUSE OF STRENGTHENING programme, a complex marriage and family strengthening, and healing programme based on the Familiaris Consortio. It is currently in the process of implementing the spiritual cooperation. More and more people are joining in prayer for the growth and fulfilment of marriage, sexuality and family according to God’s plan. More bishops and priests are offering Holy Masses, many lay people are praying for growth across the Carpathian Basin.
Please, if you can, help this mission for marriage, sexuality and family with your prayers.