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Matthias Stom_Holy Family_c1640

Holy Family
Matthias Stom, c. 1640

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. As the earthly parents of the Christ child, Mary and Joseph provide the perfect parenting models. Their commitment and obedience to God, exemplify the spirit of love for Christ that guided their lives.

Mary and Joseph both answered “Yes” to God’s call. They humbly accepted God’s plan for their lives, trusting that His purpose would be accomplished through their obedience. Their singular purpose in life was to serve God. Husbands and wives today would do well to imitate the honor, love and devotion that Mary and Joseph had for their family, as well as their wholehearted trust and obedience in God.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his Angelus address on the Feast of the Holy Family in 2009 said:

God had chosen to reveal himself by being born into a human family and the human family thus became an icon of God! God is the Trinity, he is a communion of love; so is the family despite all the differences that exist between the Mystery of God and his human creature, an expression that reflects the unfathomable Mystery of God as Love.[1]

The Most Holy Trinity is an eternal exchange of life-giving love. Throughout history, God has shown humanity His selfless love. Christ has revealed the Father’s love in the power of the Holy Spirit. He has shown us the inner life of the Holy Trinity: a communion of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Church is also a community of persons that shares in God’s Trinitarian life and love.[2]

Marriage is a metaphor for God’s self-giving love. It is also a participation in it. Like all sacraments, Matrimony draws husbands and wives more deeply into the Trinitarian life of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “the Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (CCC, 2205).

God is most fully imaged by the one-flesh union of man and woman in the Sacrament of Marriage. Both maleness and femaleness have their role in imaging God. Husband and wife image God by representing His permanent, exclusive covenant relationship with His people. They also image the Trinity’s fruitful love because when husband and wife are united as one in the marital embrace, their love can produce a third person, a child.

Jesus was the center of the Holy Family. He is to be the center of our families if we wish to grow in holiness. Christ-centered families strive to support each other in living out the call to holiness with joy in the modern world.

As a model for all families, the Holy Family shows us how to love each other, sacrifice for each other, bear each other’s burdens and always forgive each other. Family life rooted in prayer, along with participation in the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, will provide the graces needed to live out the example of the Holy Family.

By living out your marriage according to God’s plan, you are reflecting the total, permanent, exclusive, and fruitful love of Christ demonstrated by the Holy Family. Ask God to fill you with this life-giving love so that it may shine forth from your marriage to enlighten a world that is confused about the meaning of marriage and has lost sight of the love of God for His people.

[1] Benedict XVI, Angelus, St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 27 December 2009; internet: http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/angelus/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_ang_20091227.html (accessed December 24, 2020).

[2] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pastor Letter Marriage – Life and Love in the Divine Plan (Washington, D.C. USCCB, 2009), p. 35-37.