Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Holy Family

I received this description of a holy family during our family reunion. Like many families, ours is one in turmoil right now...one of my siblings is going through a divorce. Not only does this divorce affect their lives, but it also affects the lives of the families to whom they are close.

I loved what this had to say and I thought I would share it. It is written by Fr. Scott Detisch.

What Makes a Holy Family?

Would you consider your family holy? You might be inclined to answer immediately: 'No way! We argue too much. We have too many problems and issues. Plus, we aren't spiritual enough.' People who would respond in this vein are equating holiness with perfection. But that is not what holiness is about. Holiness is a lifelong process of striving to live more and more in sync with God. It means being grasped by the love of God in such a way that we desire to be the persons God has made us to be. Yet, we recognize that we will stumble and bumble along the way to becoming those persons.

All the great holy ones in our Church - the Saints - stumbled and bumbled along the way. Look at St. Peter and all of the Apostles. They denied and abandoned Jesus at His hour of deat; yet they eventually surrendered their lives to what the love of God called forth from them. This did not happen all at once. It took years to unfold. The same is true with us and with our families.

Our families may not seem as if they are holy, but if we are truly opening ourselves up to what God has called us to be, then our families are holy because we are allowing the process of surrendering to God to unfold. What could help our families open up more to the process of holiness? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Pray together as a family before meals
  • Parents: talk with your children about your own experiences of God and Christ as a real presence and power in your life. Encourage your children's questions and wonder about the things of God
  • Celebrate the Eucharist every week with the larger parish family as a way of receiving what Christ offers to every member of the family; love, forgiveness, wisdom, challenge, strength, hope, healing, and joy
  • Have family night every week to share what is going on in each person's life and also to have some fun together and delight in each other. [Parents: this might mean having to say 'no' to your children's requests to be involved in everything that interests them.]
  • Adopt some form of service to the needs of others as a year-long family venture
  • Adopt language of affection, support, and forgiveness in the home. Do not hesitate to use the powerful words: 'I love you,' 'I am sorry,' 'You are forgiven,' 'You can tell me anything,' 'You are wonderful.' Our children begin to live the words they hear from us.

Please note: there is NO feast of the Perfect Family!

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