The 4th day of Christmas, December 28th — the Feast of the Holy Family (the 3rd day of Kwanzaa.)
I met this young couple at a welcome station in the mountains of Virginia in October 2007. As I ponder this image I see Joseph and Mary and Jesus in them. May there be a touch of holiness — of wholeness — in their lives and in our families. I pray for them and all young families — indeed all families on this traditional day in the Christmas season when we reflect on the hidden, ordinary life of Joseph, and Mary and Jesus in Nazareth. They are a model of simplicity for us.
My bishop sent to his priests for Christmas a little book entitled Pope Francis and the Family. Francis has spoken often about the family. Here is one quote I’ll share . . .
What is the power of the family? It is indeed love. And the one who sows love in our hearts os God, God’s love, it is precisely God’s love gives meaning to our small daily tasks and helps us face great trials. This is the true treasure of humankind: going forward in life and love, with love which the Lord has sown in our hearts with love. This is the true treasure. It is a love that gives value and beauty to everything else; a love that gives strength to the family, to work, to study, to friendship, to work, to art, to all human activity. It even gives value to negative experiences, because this love allows us to move beyond them, not to remain prisoners of evil, it moves us beyond, always opening us to hope. (Angelus, St. Peter’s Square, August 11, 2013)
And yet, for many of us, our family lives were (are) very dysfunctional.
I think of those families today, Lord. Children (many are friends of mine) who grew up with alcoholic parents and were in favor one moment and cast aside the next, who had little normalcy, little stability.
I remember the night, Lord, you allowed me the grace to strengthen a young mother who needed the courage to at least temporarily separate herself and the children from fearful dysfunction. She and her children are now in safety. Be with her, Lord.
Be with all families who struggle, Lord. Be with us because we’re imperfect and weak and selfish and perhaps capable of little love because we may not have received much love ourselves as a children.
We’re trying, Lord. Strengthen our capacity to love ~ to be present to our children and our spouse. Help us realize, Lord, that it is not as important to have a successful career as to love our children and our spouse. To be a community of love in which to call forth the gifts, the love. the moral courage and strength of our children for the next generation.
And so, on this Feast of the Holy Family, we honor you, Jesus and Mary and Joseph. as I honor this young couple whose name I do not even know because I saw in them an image of you in their simple, ordinary love.
Lord, keep us all in your loving care.
Now, before you go, here’s a song a with a slide show with lots of family pictures. Click here.
And today’s Mass readings can be found at the following link. Click here.