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July 31, 2019

By Suzanne Pietropaoli
Natural Family Planning Director

Recently, as I do each July, I sat down to write about NFP Awareness Week. As usual, I searched for inspirationNFP and prayed for the right words to communicate the beauty of God’s plan for life and love. And the answer came quickly! An email arrived, announcing the birth of Evelyn Rose Duso. That email, entitled “A Beautiful New Life!”, just vibrated with joy, and ended by saying, “God has blessed us abundantly!”

As I gazed in awe at the photos of this beautiful 12-hours-old baby, the words of Psalm 139 echoed in my heart: “I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; how wonderful are your works! How precious to me are your designs, O Lord; how vast the sum of them!”

Precious indeed are the designs of God for his creation – like Evelyn Rose, they are precious and perfect.

The theme for NFP Week 2019 encourages us to trust in God’s plan: LOVE NATURALLY: COOPERATING WITH GOD’S DESIGN FOR MARRIED LOVE.

Without doubt, in a culture that is constantly re-designing sex and emphatically separating sex and babies, it is relatively rare for a couple to make the effort to discover what the Creator intended by the union of man and woman. His plan is clear, and it is simple: the gift of life and the gift of love are both written into the meaning of marriage and of sexual union. Why? So that we can love as God himself loves – without condition, without restriction, making a complete gift of ourselves to one another.

This necessarily involves learning to live as good stewards of our fertility in the service of responsible parenthood. The Church recognizes the right of parents to prayerfully determine, with generous hearts, the size of their families – while respecting the God-given connection between the life-giving and love-giving meanings of their sexual union.

Modern scientific methods of Natural Family Planning support this aim by educating couples to understand, observe, and interpret the bodily signs of fertility. This knowledge enables them to know reliably when they are fertile and when they are not; they then use that knowledge to avoid or achieve pregnancy. These methods are as effective as the Pill, but entirely without side effects. NFP allows us the freedom to love naturally, as God intended.

One of the great blessings of our work in Natural Family Planning is helping couples embrace and live out God’s design for married love. Getting to know these couples and being allowed to share the goodness of God at work in their lives is a unique privilege.

This brings us back to newborn Evelyn Rose – or more specifically, her parents Andrew and Brittany, whom we first met at Pre Cana and subsequently came to know in the course of our work. Watching their love, and their family, grow over the last decade is a constant reminder of how very good God is, and of the amazing grace that comes to those who cooperate with his plans for them.

But it is time to hear this directly from Evelyn’s mom, Brittany. “We are all head over heels in love with our little Evelyn! She has had a few extended periods of sleep, which have been very welcome. Our days and nights are very busy…but God is in control. With five children under 10, I have learned a great deal about letting go and allowing God to work. He knows what’s best for us!”

Referring to Kimberly Hahn’s Life-Giving Love, Brittany continues: “This book was certainly eye-opening. It brought to light a bigger picture than the one I was focusing on. If we allowed our fears to stand in our way, Evelyn wouldn’t be here. I couldn’t imagine missing out on such a gift! I thank God daily for entrusting these children to our care. I only hope we are doing a good enough job. God’s creation is just so beautiful!”

Amen. Amen.

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