Words of John Paul II:
God speaks to the newly-created beings and he blesses them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28). Human fatherhood and motherhood, while remaining biologically similar to that of other living beings in nature, contain in an essential and unique way a “likeness” to God which is the basis of the family as a community of human life, as a community of persons united in love.
Man is created “from the very beginning” as male and female: the life of all humanity —whether of small communities or of society as a whole—is marked by this primordial duality. From it there derive the “masculinity” and the “femininity” of individuals, just as from it every community draws its own unique richness in the mutual fulfillment of persons. This is what seems to be meant by the words of the Book of Genesis: “Male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). Here too we find the first statement of the equal dignity of man and woman: both, in equal measure, are persons. Their constitution, with the specific dignity which derives from it, defines “from the beginning” the qualities of the common good of humanity, in every dimension and circumstance of life.
The family originates in a marital communion described by the Second Vatican Council as a “covenant”, in which man and woman “give themselves to each other and accept each other”.
We come to realize that parenthood is the event whereby the family, already constituted by the conjugal covenant of marriage, is brought about “in the full and specific sense”. Motherhood necessarily implies fatherhood, and in turn, fatherhood necessarily implies motherhood. This is the result of the duality bestowed by the Creator upon human beings “from the beginning”.
The family which results from this union draws its inner solidity from the covenant between the spouses, which Christ raised to a Sacrament. The family draws its proper character as a community, its traits of “communion”, from that fundamental communion of the spouses which is prolonged in their children.
Their unity, however, rather than closing them up in themselves, opens them towards a new life, towards a new person. As parents, they will be capable of giving life to a being like themselves, not only bone of their bones and flesh of their flesh (cf. Gen 2:23), but an image and likeness of God—a person.
The Church is reminding the bride and groom that they stand before the creative power of God. They are called to become parents, to cooperate with the Creator in giving life. Cooperating with God to call new human beings into existence means contributing to the transmission of that divine image and likeness of which everyone “born of a woman” is a bearer.
Almighty God, we give thanks to you for your great gift to the Church of Christ in the person of John Paul II, whom we will call Blessed in a very short while. May his teachings enlighten our minds, may he transform our doubts into faith, may he form our families in love, and may the example of his life and his love for the Savior, which we desire to imitate, bring all of us into closer union with you. We ask this through your Son, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
Glory Be to the Father….