CHRISTMASTIDE 2018     Christmas is a family time. Families have recently been re-united once again. During this time when families have the grace and privilege to spend much time together, to enjoy each other’s company, to relax together, to have special family meals together, we must always thank God for all the graces and blessings our families enjoy and we must also ask God to bless our families and help our families continue to grow to become what they are called by God to be. It is fitting that during this family time every year we reflect on The Holy Family of Nazareth, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We call it “The Holy Family” because it was the most holy of families,
  • Mary was immaculately conceived and was sinless all her life and conceived Jesus of the Holy Spirit.
  • Joseph was her chaste spouse.
  • Jesus was the Son of God.
I want to share with you words from the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. Here the Pope reminded us that the family must come first and has been our greatest resource and due to modern day challenges is more important than ever, “To all I say, revere and protect your family and your family life, for the family is the primary field of Christian action for the laity, the place where your ‘royal priesthood’ is chiefly exercised. The Christian family has been in the past our greatest spiritual resource. Modern conditions and social changes have created new patterns and new difficulties for family life and for Christian marriage. I want to say to you: do not be discouraged, do not follow the trends where a close-knit family is seen as outdated; the Christian family is more important for the Church and for society today than ever before.” The Holy Father, reminded parents that marriage is a vocation from God and that there is nothing more important for parents than being a good father and mother, “Dear fathers and mothers, believe in your vocation, that beautiful vocation of marriage and parenthood which God has given to you. Believe that God is with you – for all parenthood in heaven and on earth takes its name from him. Do not think that anything you will do in life is more important than to be a good a Christian father and mother. May mothers, young women and girls not listen to those who tell them that working at a secular job, succeeding in a secular profession, is more important than the vocation of giving life and caring for this life as a mother. The future of the Church, the future of humanity depend in great part on parents and on the family life that they build in their homes. The family is the true measure of the greatness of a nation, just as the dignity of man is the true measure of civilization.” The Pope, also reminded us that marriage means being open to the receive the gift of children from God, “I want to say a very special word to all parents. Marriage must include openness to the gift of children. Generous openness to accept children from God as the gift to their love is the mark of the Christian couple. Respect the God-given cycle of life, for this respect is part of our respect for God himself, who created male and female, who created them in his own image, reflecting his own life-giving love in the patterns of their being.” As the Pope left Ireland that day, he asked families to give him a parting gift, that our homes would always be places of prayer, As we continue this season let us thank God for all the graces and blessings our families enjoy. The Holy Family was indeed a most holy family because it had received exceptional graces but it also had to endure trials just as all families do. The Holy Father’s message to families reminded families of their huge importance and the need for families to continue to cherish and nourish and foster everything Christian that will help them be the best of families. Marriage is a vocation and there is nothing more important for parents than to be a good father and mother. Therefore let us pray to the Holy Family, to Jesus, Mary and Joseph, to help our families fulfill our call to be Christian families, to continue to grow to become what we are called to be. May The Blessings of the Holy Family be with you. Happy Christmas. + Dom Philip-James OSB