Sunday, December 30, 2012

Feast of the Holy Family

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family, and the editorial in the Peace Weekly stresses the  importance of family life, especially because of its influence on the health of our society. Starting on the 30th of December, a week will be set aside for reflections on the family and its sanctification.

The end of one year and the beginning of a new one means that everybody will be busy with many things. However, during this busy time we need to reflect on what a family is and how to make it a small domestic church. In his message for the Feast Day, the bishop responsible for overseeing the health of family life in the diocese says families are finding it difficult to withstand the distorted values of society, and the bonds of family are weakening. The role of parents in correcting the situation cannot be stressed enough, he said, and  noted that we should not pass over lightly the causes and solutions that are implied.

In these times, we have many young people who are hurting, because of the distorted values that have infiltrated family life. Pope John Paul saw the family  as the "intimate community of love." And yet there remains in many families selfish decisions, parents desiring satisfaction through their children, spouses demanding a one-way sacrifice of the other, lack of understanding, and the like, which makes for instability of the family. Today it is even difficult to find unconditional love in the family. Problems with the young are often caused by societal and educational difficulties, which are usually preceded to a great extent by the breakdown of family values.

The Church sees the family in a much deeper and spiritual way than does society. Parents are to love each other as Christ loved the Church. It is this example of love that all parents should have. Before  the desire for their children to enter a first-rate college and succeed in life, they should be concerned with having the Gospel values introduced to their children.

Mother's role in the family is central. All of us received our first feeding at our mother's bosom, and learned something about love and courage from our mothers. The mother's hands extending to the child should be like the extended hands of God. In this way, the child will grow in love.

Fathers should have the same trust and faith that Joesph had in God when Joseph took care of Jesus and his mother. The place of the father in the family is obviously of great importance. No matter how difficult the situation may turn out to be, he is responsible for the welfare of the family.

We are coming to the end of the year and the editorial hopes that every family will get together to talk about how they will become a holier family in the new year.