God loves you. The creator of the universe, the source of truth, loves you. This incredible gift, to be loved by God and each of us called to live for eternity, can be hard to fathom. In his wisdom, he has woven into our lives ways we can get a glimpse of this love, of understanding his gift.
When someone has a precious gift to give, it gets wrapped with care, protected, and saved until just the right time. Often the best gift is the last one to be unwrapped.
Imagine how God would wrap a gift to teach us about true love and the preciousness of life. He has wrapped that truth in the design of married love. Being faithful to God’s design sheds light on many facets of married love that reflect the love of our creator.
In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI explains:
Married love particularly reveals its true nature and nobility when we realize that it takes its origin from God, who “is love,” the Father “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” Marriage, then, is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives. The marriage of those who have been baptized is, in addition, invested with the dignity of a sacramental sign of grace, for it represents the union of Christ and His Church. HV8
He goes on to urge us to responsible parenthood, with understanding the biology of our bodies and the meaning of our actions:
Married love, therefore, requires of husband and wife the full awareness of their obligations in the matter of responsible parenthood, which today, rightly enough, is much insisted upon, but which at the same time should be rightly understood. With regard to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions. In the procreative faculty the human mind discerns biological laws that apply to the human person. With regard to man’s innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man’s reason and will must exert control over them. With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time. HV10
Natural family planning helps couples understand their bodies and promotes responsible parenthood. NFP helps strengthen strong communication between the couples. The sacrifices for love strengthen the marriage for a lifetime. The charts reflect the ever changing fertility of the woman, with the always cycling hormones, so the man can have some road map of his always changing wife. Signs of both health and disorder are reflected in the charts, which can lead to an awesome tool for preventative medicine. The charts that are continued when pregnancy occurs can also reflect the health of the pregnancy, and changes can be acted on quickly.
This gift of NFP is amazing – I hope many of you will join us at the upcoming Celebrate HV50 conference to help unwrap some of the beautiful truths of God’s Design.
Humanae Vitae excerpts from: http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html
Lynn Keenan, MD, is the immediate Past President of CANFP, and the Vice President of the International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Keenan is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the UCSF/Fresno Medical Education Program, Board Certified in Sleep and Internal Medicine, and the mother of four.