My family holy?

“Your Family May be Holier than You Think!” by Lorene Hanley Duquin in Family Faith on the Go

At Christmastime we see images of the Holy Family on lawns, on greeting cards and in our own homes. Our kids reenact the story of the Holy Family in pageants. We sing Christmas carols that tell the story of the angels, shepherds, a manger and a star. We may even hear in homilies or read in Catholic magazines how we are called to imitate the Holy Family.

If you’re thinking that your family could never compare with the holiness of the Holy Family, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what holiness really means!

Start by putting yourself in Mary and Joseph’s situation. The manger scene may look peaceful and serene 2,000 years after the birth of Jesus. But think for a moment about how difficult it must have been for Mary to give birth in an animal shelter. Think about the smells, the noises, the dirt, the scratchy straw and the struggle of giving birth to her first child. Think about how helpless Joseph must have felt. Did he remember how he almost divorced Mary? Was he worried about how he was going to take care of her and the child? Did he think about how his life would change because of this baby that an angel told him was conceived by the Holy Spirit?

When we look beneath the serenity of the Nativity scene, we see tensions, discomfort and fear. They are the same kinds of struggles that modern-day families face. Spouses misunderstand each other. We have to face the uncertainty of the future. We have problems to overcome. We have decisions to make. We don’t always have the comforts we would like.

But when we live through those difficulties with trust that God is guiding us and protecting us, we are holy in the same way that Mary and Joseph were holy. Holiness is not just about persevering through troubling times, however. We know our families are holy when we recognize the same compassion, commitment, courage, sacrifice and joy that Mary and Joseph experienced.

We find holiness in the ordinary experiences of our lives. When we teach a child a new skill, when we discipline a child with love, when we keep our children safe and healthy, we are living our lives in the same way that the Holy Family lived.

The essence of what we see in the lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is a relationship of love – loving God and loving each other. When we pray together as a family, when we forgive or seek forgiveness, when we treat others with compassion, and when we help people in need, we are holy because we are living lives of love.

This content comes to you from Our Sunday Visitor courtesy of your parish or diocese.


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