World Meeting of Families: Find God in all the little things
By Francesca Merlo
The World Meeting of Families is well underway in the Vatican. On Wednesday night, the 5-day event was introduced with the Festival of Families in the presence of the Holy Father. Then, on Thursday, speeches and panel discussions began with Gregory and Lisa Popcak, from the Peyton Institute for Domestic Church Life, who spoke of "The Domestic Church and Synodality: Towards a new ecclesiology through the liturgy of domestic church life".
The couple presented the opening key-note speech about the Liturgy of Domestic Church life describing it as being a model of family spirituality. "Too often families feel that they have to leave the house to find God or they struggle to be able to apply Catholic spirituality at home given the busy family life", explained Gregory Popcak. Instead, he added, "this model aims to have God fill all the daily interactions".
His wife Lisa went on to explain that this means bringing a little bit of God's love into everything we do.
"But it is also about making sure that we bring God into everything we do together in the little ways that we live our family life rather than isolating that time with God to specific family prayer time, which often, in the 'sloppiness' of family life we don't get to.. at least not very well", she said.
Gregory went on to note that children have a tremendous spiritual life because they have a wonderful imagination and can really see how God is alive in our homes. We can do that also through the ways in which we look to be blessings to one another and to the rest of the world, in asking ourselves what the small ways of helping each other and making each other's days better are.
The couple have three children aged 29 through to 16 and Lisa explains that "once you know the framework it's not all that challenging". She notes that people don't realise that the things we do all day can either be seen as drudgery or as a way to effectively communicate our love for each other and God's love for us". In fact, the framework of the model the couple discussed is designed to be implemented by every family of every culture and in every socio-economic status.. "no matter what their family make-up is."
One of the biggest, if not the biggest challenge, according to Gregory and Lisa Popcak, is that of being intentional. Gregory explains that this is because "we have the tendency to think that things will happen when everything else is done". "But the stuff never gets done!", continues Gregory.. and so the question is rather than dividing and conquering, how can we divide the chores so as to do them together. He uses the example of "carrying on a conversation started at dinner while washing the dishes" or "throwing sock balls at each other whilst doing the laundry"...