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Natural Family Planning Week
from Fr. Muir on July 25, 2014
It's not too much to say that marriage is the most common way of life God uses to prepare people for heaven. It's a school of love, as Saint John Paul II liked to say, where people learn to give themselves to each other and accept each other...day in and day out. Still, there is not a huge quantity of canonized married couples in the Church's roll of official roster of saints. But July 26 is an exception. This is a day on which we do celebrate a husband and wife who are both canonized: Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary, the grandparents of Our Lord Jesus.
I mention it because here in the USA, this day marks the end of National Natural Family Planning (NFP) week. It's a week dedicated to deepening our understanding of the gift of human sexuality in marriage, and the unique way that NFP highlights that gift. Saints Joachim and Anne became Saints in large part because of their "yes" to God's plan for their sexuality and marital love.
NFP is about knowledge. It's about knowing how our bodies are designed, but also how this amazing design is oriented to deepening our capacity to love and be loved. Knowing how we are created as male and female--in God's own image--is a gift for all human beings who wish to penetrate and live this mystery more profoundly, and for married couples in a particular way.
Saints Joachim and Anne became saints precisely through their capacity to bear new life through their sexuality. They allowed their love for each other and for God to become deeply intertwined. Knowing and living God's awesome plan stamped into our sexuality is a great way for all of us to experience and deepen this kind of transformation, whether we are married or not. Learning more about NFP--and sharing it with friends--is an exciting way to do this.
There are several common misconceptions regarding the principles and practice of Natural Family Planning. Check out the realities behind frequent myths by going to www.usccb.org and clicking on these myths. You'll be amazed.
Myth #1: NFP is based on guesswork: it's what people used before modern science developed contraception.
Myth #2: NFP can be used only by women with regular cycles.
Myth #3: NFP is too complicated to be used by most people.
Myth #4: NFP is not a reliable method of family planning.
Myth #5: There is no difference between NFP and contraception.
Myth #6: NFP does not allow for sexual spontaneity.
Myth #7: Couples who use NFP have sex less often than couples who use contraception.
Myth #8: The Catholic Church wants people to have as many babies as possible.
Myth #9: The Catholic Church does not want married couples to have sex just for pleasure.
Happy NFP week, everybody.
Learning in the school of love we call the Church,
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