I feel like if a football player can reference Quadragesimo Anno, a perfectly good Papal document, in an interview, we can certainly take a dive into one of our own.
Talk about collective memory. The Church is the biggest bestest guardian of the collective memory there is. When your life is passed down from Jesus Christ with the laying on of hands, one High Priest to another, step by step to our day, you have a lot of wisdom to impart. Not even your crazy all-too-human members can take that away from you!
I am going to suggest -- if you want to, if you have time -- that for Lent, we take a peek at Casti Connubii, which is a document written by Pope Pius XI in 1930.
"Where I can do the most good?"
"As a married woman?"
The Church has an answer for that.
At the very least, even if you aren't Catholic, you could find out what the Church, as an institution that helpfully publishes all her official teachings so that there can be no confusion about what she really thinks, has to say about marriage. You might be interested.
This encyclical (which is just a longish letter containing the official teaching of the whole Church on a particular subject) is the one that precedes (in subject matter) one you may have heard of, Humanae Vitae. That document expressed Church teaching on birth control and made some fairly heavyweight predictions, which have pretty much all come to pass.
You might not be aware, even if you are Catholic, that every encyclical references every one preceding it on the subject, as well as Scripture and the Church Fathers. No encyclical exists in a vacuum.
Collective memory I tell you.
Casti Connubii attempts to situate marriage in the whole of God's plan for humanity. As such, I think it's worth taking a look at.
If you're interested, as a pre-Lenten warm-up exercise, I suggest you start here, with an interesting and helpful time-line. (This site also has a summary of the document and a version that doesn't have that annoying Vatican background that makes everything well nigh impossible to read, sorry Vatican "tech" guys, it's just true.)
Sometimes we think of upheavals as having occurred in the last few years. Take a look at that timeline.
I'm sure it's not comprehensive -- for instance, it leaves out all that was happening at the time in Germany (other than a nod at one publication) and Russia -- events that surely weighed like boulders on the Pope's mind as he was writing this message to the world's priests and families.
But it makes you think. And as you think, you might, this Lent, be amazed to see what the Church had to say about the place of marriage and the family in the world.
I don't have a grand plan about how to go about this Lenten reading.
One thought I had, other than to suggest it to you, throw some ideas out there occasionally, and maybe answer some questions and comments in the combox, is that you might want to ask a friend -- your husband, for instance -- or a couple of girl friends -- a little mother's group or some such thing -- or a couple of couples -- to read it along with you, all together.
Read with an open mind, and discuss.
Want to give it a go?