My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
We are made by God, in his image, for God. God created everything for us and, in turn, we are created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him. The psalmist, David, speaks beautifully and simply to the gift of our creation in Psalm 139.
How many of us praise God for our being? How many of us acknowledge ourselves as wonderfully made because we are of God? In the United States, we have allowed all types of media to place great emphasis on the human body, not because of its God-given dignity, but as an object of desire or of no value. Our understanding of our bodies and souls as one with God has been fragmented and perhaps we have succumbed to the thought that we are in charge, rather than living as our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.
Fifty years ago, Blessed Pope Paul VI identified some of the changes taking place in society. Today, these challenges still ring true: Rapid population increases caused a fear that the world population was growing faster than available resources which would compromise the family unit; working and housing conditions posed a living situation which could make it difficult to provide for a large family; the dignity of women and their place in society was changing; and our “stupendous” progress in the domination and rational organization of the forces of nature might bring forth control over every aspect of our own lives — over our bodies, minds and emotions, over our social lives, and the laws that regulate the transmission of life. Blessed Pope Paul VI said, “The Church cannot ignore these challenges, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.”
On July 25, 1968, Blessed Pope Paul VI authored the papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae.” It provides clear teaching about God’s plan for married love and the transmission of life. The document speaks to married love as sacramental; it takes its origin from God, who “is love,” the Father “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” This married love is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it grows to bring new life into being. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents’ welfare. The document talks about the responsibility of the husband and wife and family toward the procreation of God’s kingdom on earth.
Pope Francis said, “Man and woman are created in God’s image and likeness; and for this reason, marriage likewise becomes an image of God. This makes marriage very beautiful. Matrimony is a silent homily for everyone else, a daily homily.”
Have we lost the psalmist’s intent of the glory of life because we are of God? If we proclaim heartily, “I praise you, for I am wonderfully made,” how different would our world be? The kingdom is of God, not ours. We are called to procreation of life in all ways, for God is the Creator of all. We look on in wonder as God brings the earth and all within it to fruition.