The Human Family In Crisis
The institution of the human family appears to be in crisis. Today, countless families are experiencing discord and tremendous friction, and their members are living in residences that have turned into temples of selfishness, hatred, resentment, envy, and indifference. Family members are craving for greater peace in their homes. Furthermore, numerous children are yearning to be better comprehended by their parents and these, in turn, are not feeling truly respected and honored by their children. Also, many husbands and wives are praying to be loved and valued again by their spouse. Indeed, everyone wants to feel appreciated and happy.
On the Sunday after Christmas, the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family. It is a day in which the faithful are given the opportunity to reflect upon the importance of the family and to express gratitude to the Lord for this precious gift. Undoubtedly, the family is the central and essential part of any society. In other words, it is “the original cell of social life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2207) It is in this original cell that social and moral values are learned and developed. Frequently, the people within this petite community of persons learn to behave towards people in general in the same modus as they learned to treat one another. Faith, hope, and love generally develop here, too. Consequently, a Christian family is called a domestic church.
Divine Intervention Through the Holy Family
The Catholic Church believes and teaches that Jesus Christ desired to belong to a human family. For this reason, He selected Holy Mary, the ever Virgin, before the creation of the world to be His Mother. And for His adoptive father, He chose the glorious Saint Joseph. This family is known as the Holy Family and it is the example and model for all human families. God presents them to us to remind us that all families are under this holy family’s patronage. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph desire to care for, safeguard and strengthen all families. God also presents us this image to remind us that our families ought to aspire to be as the Holy Family. Obviously, this is impossible without receiving divine intervention. Therefore, the grand mystery of the Incarnation transpired for our salvation.
The Exemplary Parental Roles of Mary and Joseph
Faith tells us that the second Person of the Holy Trinity elected to become man and to take part in our human nature, so that, through His merits, we can take part in His divine nature. As a result, He, Jesus Christ, chose the Most Holy Mary to be His mother so that He may have a mother as all humans have one. Indeed, Mary was an excellent mother, for she was specifically created to be the Mother. For this reason, Jesus revealed during His crucifixion a mysterious secret that was previously hidden in His sacred heart: Mary was created to be, through Him, the Mother of all. Her spouse, Saint Joseph, was a just man, a holy and chaste spouse, and an especially admirable father. Jesus chose him as His adoptive father, preparing him beforehand with all the graces and virtues necessary to be able to care for Jesus and Mary.
Saint Joseph is the model of all fathers. Together with him, Jesus and Mary form a human family that is always able and willing to help all families that find themselves in difficult situations but entrust themselves to the Holy Family’s efficacious intercession. Therefore, it is recommended that families have an image of the Holy Family in their homes as a holy reminder to ask for their powerful intercession, so that the Holy Family may unite with ours to help us live in unity and love and to help us in the path of salvation.
Becoming a Blessed and Prosperous Family
No human family is perfect and there will always be family problems. But what is important is that we try to resolve them for the benefit of all, that we attempt to be instruments of peace, and that we love, forgive, support, and encourage one another. In truth, Jesus Christ is the key to having a holy, united, and happy family. When He is the Center of the family and when everything is spoken and done through Him, with Him, and in Him, the family begins to heal, grow, prosper and please the Lord. Nevertheless, in order for Christ to be the Center of the family, it is necessary that the Christian learns to deny him or herself and to love and live sacrificially for the glory of God and the family’s well-being. If he does, then a transformative process will occur: Parents will truly be respected and honored by their children, and children will be better understood by their parents. Husbands and wives will mutually value and love one another once again, and everyone will live with the joy of the sons and daughters of God. The family will be blessed and prosper in the Lord’s presence.
(Note: This post was originally published on December 29, 2017.)