National News

Families: Become What You Are

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CNS) – A noted author and speaker on St. John Paul II’s lectures on the “theology of the body” told a Harrisburg conference that we can’t have a correct understanding of ourselves and family life “unless we seek eternal ecstasy in the marriage of Christ and the church.”

The speaker, Christopher West, offered four presentations during a daylong diocesan conference titled “Family, Become What You Are!” It was organized as preparation for the World Meeting of Families being held in Philadelphia in September.

The title of the July 11 conference is from St. John Paul’s call for the family to “become what you are” in his 1981 apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio,” on the role of the Christian family in the modern world.

West’s talks focused on divine love and spousal love; the teaching of Christ; the great mystery of marriage; and the living out of the “divine plan.”

He unpacked St. John Paul’s integrated vision of the human person, presented over a period of 129 Wednesday audiences between 1979 and 1984.

Reflecting on the conference theme, West remarked that the instruction “Family, become what you are!” indicates that the family is something given by God.

“We live in a world today that rebels against the given. We want to be our own masters. We want to design. We want to customize our whole existence,” he said. “When John Paul II says, ‘Family, become what you are!’ he is saying there is a reality that the family is good and beautiful and joyful. God made us a certain way, and we are called to become the way we are.”