The Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

Reprinted with permission of Fr. Dudzinski from his weekly column in the St Elizabeth Seton Parish Bulletin, "The Seton Voice". Column was written for the week of July 20th, 2003, National NFP Awareness Week.

In His Presence
by Father Brian Dudzinski

Greetings and God's Blessings to you!  "A love that is complete and faithful, a love which holds nothing back from the other, will remain open to God's creative plan.  After all, it is God's love in the first place." (Bishop Peter Sartain, Arkansas Catholic)  Today marks the beginning of Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness week (Sun, July 20th - Saturday, July 26th).  This is a very important week because it helps the faithful to understand better what NFP is, its effectiveness, and why it is recommended for those striving to cooperate with God's marital plan for them.

There are many misconceptions about Natural Family Planning.  Many people associate NFP with the calendar rhythm method (which is based on a woman's menstrual cycle...which is not very effective) but in fact it is based on her actual fertility.  The big difference between these two methods is that of consistency and the ability to pin point with great accuracy when a woman is fertile. Knowing this enables a couple to plan their families both with regard to their desire to become pregnant and their desire to delay, for serious reason, having a child.

The Church has consistently, faithfully, and unequivocally taught that the use of artificial contraception is morally evil.  Why?  The Church believes and teaches that life is a gift from God and that man and woman are joined together, "the two become one," in Holy Matrimony.  In this joining of man and woman in marriage, they are called to be co-creators with God, continuing His work of creation.  This is why the ends of marriage are the pro-creation and education of children.  Husband and wife pledge their love for each other and God in this Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and it is in their conjugal love that they ratify and renew their covenant with God and each other.  For a couple to use contraception is to deny self and spouse the fullness of their love for each other.  The conjugal act is not merely a desire of the flesh to be lightly engaged in, but a desire for each to give fully to the other all that they are which includes their fertility. 

This gift of fertility, or at least openness to this gift, as not all couples are fertile, is most "appreciated" in the Natural Family Planning method.  Fertility is respected as a gift to be shared and in sharing this gift the "whole" person is appreciated. NFP is so important in a marriage... in that it enables there to be a more openness in communication and less "taking for granted" the other spouse. NFP is not contraception, which makes it more likely that there will be a mentality of seeing and treating the other as an object instead of the beautiful human person that God created in His image and likeness.  It is not contraception in that "something" is used to stop pregnancy, but it is cooperation with the natural fertility make up of the woman.  As stated earlier, a woman can come to know when she is fertile, if she and her husband choose to express their love through the conjugal act; they are being open to the gift of life.  God is the creator of all life and has entrusted and passed on to husband and wife the gift of procreation.  When contraception is used, God is taken out of the equation, and this act of self-giving becomes selfish and contrary to God's plan for marital love.

We know that in 1Jn 4:8, "God is Love."  God desires for us to share in that love and to live in that love.  Natural Family Planning enables a couple to know they are respected and their human dignity is preserved by a total selfless gift of oneself to the other and vice versa.  Jesus did this same thing when He lovingly sacrificed Himself for us on the Cross and perpetuated that sacrifice in the Mass.  The Eucharist expresses in a very profound way God's loving, life-giving, sacrificial gift to us.  He remains with us in the Eucharist to daily witness to the love we are called to share and live in.  May God Bless you and thank you for being In His Presence...until next week...see you at Mass!

Father Brian Dudzinski, Assoc Pastor
St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Carmel IN

 

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