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Revolution from the Inside Out: Marriage and Family as Persuasion

Revolution from the Inside Out: Marriage and Family as Persuasion

By Fr. John Oliver

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If America is in moral decline, if respect for human dignity runs cold, if our discourse is coarsening, if basic kindness is withering under rampant individualism, if sexual confusion is the new norm, if secularism increasingly defines our laws and institutions, if traditional marriage and family are falling from public favor – can such cultural decay be seen as a gift?

Yes, and one key to such optimism may be to understand that if America is slipping further toward depravity, it is also slipping closer toward the very conditions in which the early Christian faith thrived.

How did a tiny, obscure religious sect on the fringe of the first-century Roman Empire evolve into a lasting global movement, providing the world with an unprecedented dignity for human life, a transcendent sanctity to the relationship of marriage, and a new vision for the family?

Was it by law? No, the legal code favored pagan arrangements. Was it by force? No, Christians had no access to the halls of power.

Was it by persuasion? Yes, the value given to individual persons, marriages, and families is part of what made this way of life so attractive to the pagan culture, inspiring its conversion. And now, what was true in the ancient world is no less true in the modern world: law reform and political renewal are good and worthy pursuits, and bless those who pursue them. But, it is a change of hearts in American homes that is the real prize.

Therefore, in addition to thinking from the outside in - from shaping government in Washington, DC to supporting the ennobling kind of entertainment in Hollywood, we must also live from the inside out - from recommitting to the spouse we have taken for granted to reinvesting in the children we have marginalized.

Men, if you desire to unleash a cultural revolution that restores the glory of marriage and family, start in your kitchen by loading that dishwasher, taking out that trash, and fixing that lightbulb over the sink. Then, move to your living room, and power down that computer, visit with that teenager, and read to that child. And place your wife back on that pedestal she was on when you first found her.

Women, if you desire a society that affirms the glory of marriage and family, rediscover the beauty of who you are and not what pop culture wants to change you into, know that your suffering is not in vain because it comes from so much love, and lift up your husband for all that he is trying to get right rather than tear him down for all that he gets wrong. And remember that just as the humanity of Christ Himself was shaped at the knee of His mother, so do your children profit from the frustrating-yet-sacred office of your own motherhood.

Brothers and Sisters, we gather here today in the capital of our blessed nation in support of a big part of what made our nation blessed - the glory of marriage and family: both of which are sometimes hard work but always worth the effort.

To commit to a lifetime of learning how to genuinely love another person, to cleanse ourselves from all the impediments to that love, and to cooperate with the grace of God to grow into the kinds of husbands and wives and fathers and mothers worthy of our exalted calling - these are personal sparks that ignite a cultural flame, attracting others to its glow just as it did two-thousand years ago.

So, my fellow strugglers, in addition to the renewal of America from the outside in, welcome to the revolution from the inside out.

May God embrace each of you to Himself, and all those you hold dear.