Chapter One: Created For Joy
by Sara Perla
The first chapter of the WMF Catechesis focuses on the universal call of love. Each of us is “created for joy” and the Lord desires us to be with Him forever. He wants us to be happy!
Pope Francis’s Lumen Fidei [LF] is quoted here: “Promising love forever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love” (no. 52). Many people today doubt the possibility of love lasting until death. They fear the risk of taking a vow; of committing themselves to an unknown future. It is, at its root, a crisis of faith. Do I believe in God? Do I believe He loves me? Can I, because of God, have enough faith in myself and in another person to say “yes” forever?
Flannery O’Connor wrote that faith is “trust, not certainty.” It comforts me that we can start small when we are practicing trust. In my relationship with God, I have needed many small steps of trust before undertaking any bigger leaps. The hard part, I find, is the seeming dissimilarity between human friendship and friendship with God. In human friendship, trust is built up as each person comes through for the other over time, but in our relationship with God, it’s more an act of conforming ourselves to Him and His will—because He is always there for us, just not always in the way we want or expect.
I trust God because He proved His love for me on the Cross—not because He gives me what I want when I want it. Likewise, I expect that when I, God willing, come before God to marry a man that I love, I will trust that man not because he conforms to my idea of who he should be, but rather because he has been given to me by God who is trustworthy. “God’s love is basic to our identity, and more fundamental than any anxieties, ambitions, or questions we may have” (LF, no. 16).
I have been created to love in trust: I have been created for joy!
About the author
Sara Perla is the Program Specialist for the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She attended the Catholic University of America and received her Masters degree in Theological Studies at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C. She is also a baker, a ballet dancer, and an avid listener of NPR podcasts.
World Meeting of Families Catechesis Series
The USCCB is excited about the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) being held in Philadelphia in September 2015. We are presenting a series of short articles focused on the WMOF Catechesis Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive and its implications for our daily lives. We will follow the timing suggested by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by exploring one theme each month leading up to the World Meeting.
To see the rest of the monthly articles click here.