Missionaries and apostolate for families

Anthony Zimmerman
August 23, 1982
Reproduced with Permission

Dear Participants in the SVD General Chapter:

You will be praying, speaking, pondering, How best to put the SVD at God's disposal, to be a Society which is beautiful for Him Glorious, holy and immaculate without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort; Splendid with the spirit of Arnold our father, a family of apostles sent by God.

In every age God has special designs for His Church, He asks His chosen ones to read the signs of the times, and to act with wisdom, To understand fully the mystery, the plan He was pleased to decree in Christ. We ask what God wants of us today what Father Arnold is directing us to do now, To be the apostles, the pioneers, the developing front of the Church as it reaches for the next century.

My request to you is to consider the Apostolate of the Family, To read the signs of the times In Humanae Vitae, in Familiaris Consortio, In the allocutions of the Pope about family life, in the speeches of the Bishops of Synod 1980.

Our Society, I believe, will be marked out by God for special blessings, new joys, enthusiasm, for plentiful vocations, material helps, If we now devote ourselves more explicitly to the great spiritual and social apostolate of the renewal of family life, under the watchful eyes of the Pope and of Blessed Arnold.

When enemies of God and man create wicked propaganda, Advising governments to legalize and subsidize the murder of pre-born children; When the human family foolishly listens to teachers who tickle their ears, Then mass murder of the pre-born rages as a world plague, fifty million and more killed every year, over a hundred thousand daily. In your own city today, maybe on your street, the bodies of mothers will wretch, as the flint-eyed doctor kills her child.

With such mass-murder, men will be lovers of self and of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful, profane, Inhuman, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hateful of good. They will be treacherous, reckless, pompous, lovers of pleasure rather than of God As they make a pretense of religion. With near saturation abortion in the world, Our people are also swept along, some even to suicidal madness. Our admonitions fall upon stopped up ears, our exhortations are greeted with yawnings, The churches have empty spaces on Sundays, the Confessional collects spider webs, The weeds grow in our seminary yards, until we close our monasteries and sell them. The Lord's praises in our choirs become faint, Aging Society members finish their last Compline. Moving to eternity as the house grows silent. When good family life is destroyed, We are all swept along in a trail of evils.

It is contraception which has spawned the abortion epidemic, As experienced family life observers know, contraception is that subtle poison, Slow-working, a scarcely perceptible evil to its users, troubling their abilities to settle marital problems, Dulling their love, making sex life a burden, intruding fear of conception into all attempts to make love. When the dread news of another conception is flashed, it's her fault again, and sadly she kills her child. And with each new murder, she kills part of herself, and loses respect for her personal image. She is not proud and happy when she prays, she greets her husband with ennui, jaded spirit, She views the social system with wounded cynicism, asks doubtfully whether a just God exists. She feels alone and separate as she prays with the children, Mephistophelian laughter troubles her nightmares.

Family quarrels grow intensely, Husbands become unfaithful, wives unforgiving and unloving, Marriages starved of love are terminated, as the psyches of the children are traumatized, And seeds of dissension are sown in their young hearts.

When we help one family, exhorts Mother Teresa, We help their children, and their children's children, We help whole generations, a long line into the future. Mother Teresa asked Members of the National Diet in Japan, At a Breakfast Meeting April 24 of this year: Change your abortion law, Improve your adoption law. And know that natural family planning is beautiful!

Two Hundred and thirty Diet Members and Ministers Listened intently to Mother Teresa and pondered what to do. A few months later, on July 13 they assembled to celebrate Japan's first Life Day. Political action was launched with power to amend Japan's abortion and adoption laws. Action is expected this year and next.

Shall we not, at Divine Word Chapter '82, Ask Father Arnold, ask God, ask ourselves how we can help more in the apostolate for families. What greater welfare service is there than to preserve the gift of life for the pre-born? Let us not be concerned about what people are to eat, about clothes for them to wear, "Life is more important than food and the body more than clothing" (Lk 12, 23). First life for them, before we overtax our time with other welfare programs.

The signs of the times point to a pro-life apostolate, Toward mobilization of our resources to save the family from hurt, And to restore it to living in harmony with God and the gifts which God has given to family members.

The voice of the Pope is strong and clear:

"With regard to the question of lawful birth regulation The ecclesial community at the present time must take on the task of instilling conviction And offering practical help to those who wish to live out their parenthood In a truly responsible way" (FM 35).

And Mother Teresa told the priests of Osaka, presided over by their Bishop At a meeting convened on April 28th, that natural family planning is beautiful, That priests should teach it she does not expect, but learn all about it, yes they should. And lead their flock to its adoption.

Precious words of Mother Teresa to Bishop and priests of Osaka: "Another beautiful thing that we are trying to do for the family is to teach our people natural family planning .... The people say 'Our family is healthy by practicing this method; our family is united, and we can have a baby whenever we want.'

"And it is such a wonderful thing, that spirit, peace; quarrels that they used to have before have subsided, because both husband and wife have come to know something beautiful, that we are helping the country. People who used to have a baby every year, now they have a baby maybe after five or six years, according to their desire. Nothing is destroyed by the practice, and there is a deep love for each other ....

"For the priests - I don't think it is right to teach - but I believe that you should know, to be able to advise, to be able to stop the mental destruction that is caused to people by contraceptives and by sterilization. And it is good for priests to have something to give to these (non-Christian) people to guide them, to protect them from this evil, Christians and non-Christians.

"It is easy for our people in Confession to get that help. But for our Buddhists, for our Hindus, there is no one to guide them except you and I. So it is necessary for you to learn it, to be able to help; and for the nuns it is very necessary...

"And so I am hoping and I am praying that this practice - the sisters have also started teaching (in Tokyo -, and you have here the Family Life Association (our group) which is very much involved with spreading it - I would be very happy and very grateful if more nuns learn to teach that ..."

The President of the Major Superiors, Conference of Sisters Has asked our Family Life Association to give a course in Natural Family Planning for sisters, which we plan to start very soon, in Tokyo.

Mother Teresa has become the world's most powerful And the world's most influential voice, to save the lives of the pre-born children, And to prevent their murder by their own mothers. While fighting abortion directly with moving addresses, She goes on to say that abortion is outdated, is unnecessary, is useless carnage; Because natural family planning is here, and people can learn to plan their conceptions Together in a loving way, and effectively. In Calcutta alone the Missionaries of Charity, Have right now over 36,000 couples learning - and practicing NFP. No more need of abortions there. And Mother Teresa fights abortion with adoption, she informs all hospitals, all clinics, all police stations "Don't destroy the child. I will take it." And Mother delights in the many, many children. Whose lives were saved, and who find parents to adopt them.

Ponder upon three things at the General Chapter, I beseech you: 1. Society Pro-life and anti-abortion activities, including education to renew minds and hearts. 2. Adoption services, and renewal of adoption laws. 3. Learn and promote natural family planning.

Perhaps it is the Church's most dynamic apostolate now; and our Society will be blessed if we move into this apostolate more actively now. Begin with courses in our Seminaries. Call Dr. Josef Roetzer of Austria, the world's best teacher of NFP, to our courses in Nemi. Make this a live issue throughout our members and our missions. Dixi. Thank you. Fr. Anthony Zimmerman, SVD Sent to: Generalate and to Provincial Superiors. Suggestion: Ask Mother Teresa to address your General Chapter.