Be sure to check out Part 1 of this series first!
On Mike’s and my first day of Natural Family Planning “class,” we walked into the small conference room armed with our arsenal of preconceptions about Catholics and the Catholic Church (many negative, to my shame) and their stance on birth control. As far as we were concerned, we were here to learn the method, and we were prepared to to steel ourselves against the theology.
When the teachers popped in the video supplement to the first lesson- a brief introduction to Pope John Paul’s “Theology of the Body,” we were all set to tune out and suffer through to get to the good stuff- the info we wanted. Yet as we listened to the teaching, and then listened to our instructors (a married couple with 6 kids) as they shared their own journey with the class, we both felt the sting of conviction on our hearts.
I don’t care to recount all the points of the “Theology of the Body.” I don’t even really remember the exact facts. All I know is that Mike and I left that class irrevocably changed. Here is what stuck with us:
First, I remember the great esteem with which our catholic brother and sister (and the others in the room) held marriage and family. Never in my life had I heard people so highly praising the gift of bearing and raising children. To them, nothing, not even a successful career as a doctor, could come close.
Another thing that stuck with me was something I had never ever thought of before. It was that children, babies, are a living, breathing, walking manifestation of love. They are the precious symbol of the closest relationship a human being can attain, and that relationship is itself only a dim picture of the relationship of Christ to His bride, the Church.
There were a million and one nuances in those classes, things that pierced our hearts, caused us to rise up in protest and struggle with our teachers after class, things that got under our skin. Again, it’s too much to capture here. I’m not going to try to “persuade” you that NFP or that the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding marriage and family are good and right, although certainly a good part of it is good and right.
I don’t have all the theology squared away (I’m not one for theology anyway). But I can say this: something in our spirits connected with the message presented and we were poised to launch ourselves into marriage headed in a much different direction than we originally had been…
For more reading about Natural Family Planning, check out Kitchen Stewardship’s excellent post detailing the reasons she chooses NFP. And if you have a question or remark, feel free to leave a comment or contact me via the contact page!
Read Part 3 Here