Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family, usually celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas, but adjusted this year because Christmas Day fell on a Sunday.
I thought it worth sharing today an excerpt from the message Pope Paul VI wrote for this Feast, which suggests what we might learn from this family.
Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like… Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning…Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.
How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths.
First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.
Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings; in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children–and for this there is no substitute.
Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognize its value. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.
Not all of our families look like the that of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. But family – however we define it (and, for some, wherever they find it) is a community of sharing and love.
Blessings on your day, as we continue to bask in the glow of Incarnation.