Today is the feast of the Holy Family. The Son of God wanted his saving work to begin within an ordinary family. St. Joseph was the father according to the law and provided for Mary and Jesus. Mary with him took care of her Son. The three lived in service of each other, doing God’s will always. This family was the example par excellence what every family should be.
As technologies advance and economies grow, families become less and less a unit. While in the past the family meal was pretty much common place, now it is a rarity. There isn’t the time to take an adequate interest in each other or to enjoy each other. To have healthy children who have self worth and are happy, it is important for them to be with their parents (or parent in the case of a single-parent family) at home and outside of the home, sharing various activities.
An essential element in sharing time together is the time spent in prayer. Servant of God Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic exhortation on the family, had this to say:
Do you teach your children the Christian prayers? Do you prepare them, in conjunction with the priests, for the sacraments that they receive when they are young—Confession, Communion and Confirmation? Do you encourage them when they are sick, to think of Christ suffering, to invoke the aide of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints? Do you say the family Rosary together...? Do you pray with your children...at least sometimes? Your example of honesty in thought and action, joined to some common prayer, is a lesson for life and an act of worship of singular value. In this way you bring peace to your homes... (Familiaris Consortio, no. 60).
This takes time and devotion. May parents make this time, and may children cooperate with their parents. Moreover, may our government make it possible. Parents should not be compelled to give more and more of their time to work in order to make a decent living for their families. Nor should they be forced to do so in order to pay outlandish taxes. The government should protect and support the family unit, rather than making it more difficult to be together.
As we close 2007 and begin 2008, may the members of each family grow in their appreciation of one another. May they forgive and forget past injuries and begin anew always looking forward to being together.