Thousands of people will pour into Philadelphia this September to celebrate the Eighth World Meeting of Families with Pope Francis. On June 25 , the Vatican officially presented the theme for the event: Love is our mission: the family fully alive Lovely! On the other hand, do I want my family to be fully alive? That sounds like a handful. There are, after all, so many ways to be alive. My neighbor is alive at 6:50 am every Saturday and Sunday, cleaning his deck with a leaf blower powered by an engine from a Boeing 747. Alive was the man who cut me off in traffic yesterday, swearing at me colorfully through his open window. Children who fight over whose turn it is to wash the dishes? Very much alive. © ezepov/Getty Images Sometimes "alive" feels more like "undead." But the World Meeting theme recalls the famous line by the second century theologian St. Irenaeus: "The the Glory of God is man fully alive." Pope St. John Paul II admired Irenae
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Mom and Dad Head-to-Head in Family Jeopardy Today is my first post on this lovely, collaborative blog. How exciting! I'd like to share some intriguing stories about my recent family reunion which involved 43 people, a giant tent, a rotted board with rusty nails, a shattered patio table . . . and prayer. Here's an excerpt to pique your interest: My mom and dad gave our whole family a great gift: they taught us how to pray. We prayed at meals, at bedtime, and whenever we heard a siren. We prayed the rosary. We went to church every weekend. We prayed at tense moments: when fighting grew chaotic, Mom would holler above the noise: "LET US SPEAK OF THE CHRIST CHILD!" We are strong-willed, flawed human beings, but we pray. I am convinced that this instinct to pray--an instinct cultivated by my parents through God's grace--has helped us remain conscious of our dependence on God. Read the whole report at Praying with Grace !