We live in a time of great confusion about marriage and family life. The eternal plan of the Judeo-Christian vision of the family has been rejected and has been reduced to mere personal contracts. In our culture, marriage and having (or not having) children are viewed as one choice among many for self-fulfillment. When situations or desires change, couples are free to opt out since they are the ones to determine the structure and meaning of marriage and family.

Even when God’s truth is grasped, our families are still wounded by sin and difficulties that often go untreated, making it difficult for Christians to live out the mission and vision of the family. Our need is to rediscover the Biblical vision of marriage and family and to experience God’s healing grace.

The Bible is the powerful story of God’s never-failing love for us and how human love is an expression of His love. It tells us how Marriage and family are one of the great gifts of God, instituted at the very beginning of creation (Genesis 1-2) and endowed by the Creator with a specific structure and meaning.

Revelation tells us that marriage is a covenant, an enduring relationship between a man and woman whose embodied love was to bring forth new life. We learn that God’s plan is for the family to be a community and school of love. The Bible witnesses to the difficulties human beings have had throughout history with keeping this plan alive in their lives. But as Christ, the great Healer, revealed, God never abandons His plan for marriage and family life. Marriage was instituted to participate in a greater mystery: to become the icon of the sacrificial love of Christ for the Church (Ephesians 5:32). Through the sacrament of matrimony real grace exists in our marital and family relationships

We live in a difficult time, but not one without hope; God always keeps His promise. Christ offers us another Way. He offers us the Truth about marriage, about family, and about the human person and His teaching heals us and sets us free.

For this purpose, Theology of the Family (TOF) was founded to help re-discover the Biblical vision of the family. Its mission is to show that there is faith, hope, and healing in and for the family. The truth is there is no perfect family; we all suffer wounds because of our fallen nature. The good news is that families can be restored; there is healing for our wounds. We may never know exactly what form this may take or how this will be accomplished, but we do know that as we begin opening ourselves to God’s grace and truth, healing begins. TOF can help in that process.

The Theology of the Family is a comprehensive approach comprised of a video series, website, and book. The video and guide clearly and carefully present the basic Scriptural truths about marriage and family to show their essential role in God’s plan of salvation as the domestic church. The video series and guide can be used by a parish or individuals to help strengthen people’s understanding of this rich Biblical teaching. Guides for facilitators, coordinators, and priests are available and are designed to help easily implement TOF as an excellent parish program ;

The website www.theologyofthefamily.com has ordering information on the series and practical resources for marriage and family life.

The companion book Biblical and Theological Foundations of the Family (CUA Press) is a scholarly resource intended for anyone interested in going deeper; it can be used to guide a Bible Study, and is ideally suited for priests and deacons as an expository aid for preparing homilies and understanding the true nature of the family.

As you seek the Bibilical vision for the family, pray that the Lord will pour out His grace upon us to heal our families, the Church, and society.

 

Dr. Joseph C. Atkinson is associate professor of sacred scripture at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington