Within the Christmas season, the Sunday following Christmas is dedicated to the Feast of the Holy Family. The celebration is to honor Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph. Within the Holy Family, we see the devoted love of each member towards each other and their actions constantly directed towards God. Their witness is worth reflecting on regularly but especially during the days after Christmas.
Jesus spent 30 years living family life before He began His public Ministry. Jesus knew that life within the community of a family is the most important foundation any person must have. Though not much is written specifically of those years, we know that He learned Scripture from His parents and went to religious services with them. Within family life, Jesus learned how to cope with difficulties that the Holy Family had to endure. Their holiness did not protect them from challenges, pains, and difficulties. However, their faithful trust and surrender to God’s Divine plan for them called them to remain holy and united.
This Feast of the Holy Family also calls us to remember the important impact family life has on each person and the world. The Church continues to hold strong to how vital each member of the family is and how their daily life interactions mold a generation more filled with love and holiness. We learn how to say and express love. We learn to ask, accept, and extend forgiveness. We learn to appreciate the ways we are cared for and to seek to help those we love. We experience support through failures and celebration through successes. These daily interactions teach us how to become the person God created us to be.
Sadly, family life is under attack, and many do not grow up in the protected cell of family life that God intended for us. Families are torn apart. Family members struggle to find the time and the dedication. Let us take time to pray for all those families who do not have the witness and love that they need within them. May God touch their hearts and awaken them to live out their vocation of love and learning. As our heart is reaching out to those whose family life is struggling or broken, let us renew within our families our essential daily witness to love, respect, and faith.
I invite you to say this prayer today to honor the feast celebrated last Sunday.
Dear Lord, bless our family. Be so kind as to give us the unity, peace, and mutual love that You found in Your own family in the little town of Nazareth.
Saint Joseph, bless the head of our family. Obtain for him the strength, the wisdom, and the prudence. Obtain for him the strength, the wisdom, and the prudence he needs to support and direct those under his care.
Mother Mary, bless the mother of our family. Help her to be pure and kind, gentle and self-sacrificing. For the more she resembles you, the better will our family be.
Lord Jesus, bless the children of our family. Help them to be obedient and devoted to their parents. Make them more and more like You. Let them grow, as You did, in wisdom and age and grace before God and man.
Holy Family of Nazareth, make our family and home more and more like Yours, until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with You. Amen.
Prayer for Families retrieved from http://www.liturgies.net/saints/holyfamily/prayer1.htm
Author: Laura Stephens, FF Sacrament Preparation Catechist