Sunday, December 29, 2013

“A family is holy not because it is perfect but because God's grace is at work in it.”

I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world. – Mother Teresa

Scripture Text: (SIR 3:2-6, 12-14)
God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.

In the whole of the animal kingdom, the human being is the most vulnerable animal at the point of birth.  A calf of a cow can stand on its feet merely 30 minutes after its birth.  The next day, it could be jumping and running around all over the place.  A duckling begins to swim on the same day it is hatched.  Even though basic survival instincts are sufficiently developed in a human infant, the emotional and rational dimensions are far from being fully developed.   

What do all these details mean for us humans? 

Very simple:  We need the family.  The human baby needs a group of humans who will ‘naturally’ and ‘instinctively’ take care of it.  So put on love! Love knows it’s not perfect yet, so it makes allowances for other people’s mistakes and forgives their wrongs. Love knows its understanding is limited, so it looks upon other people with respect and tries to learn from them. Love knows the world is full of hurtful words and deeds, so it tries to make the home a haven of kindness and gentleness. Love realizes that growth takes time, so it practices patience. Love gratefully welcomes and treasures every family member, looking for the good in them, however deeply it may be buried.

May this be our vision for our families! May we all learn how to put on love day in and day out. Then our homes will begin to feel more and more like the home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family and our models.

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