Song du Jour

Song du Jour

Benedictine Thoughts, Teachings, and Prayers

Feast of the Holy Family: Learning to Love, Pray and Live in the School of Nazareth

December 31, 2012

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Feast

Just a couple of days ago on December 25, 2012, we were all re-living this infant named Jesus, coming to us on Earth. Now, six days later, Jesus is twelve years old. The above painting is of Jesus speaking to the teachers in the temple by Colleen Hammond; is intriguing to me because this appears to me to be appropriately realistic for that time period. And what is even more amazing is that the teachers are listening to every word that is being said. The words: pilgrimage, journey, and travel tell us that the Holy Family is moving from one place to another but in essence, we are travelling with them in listening, learning, living, and loving as imitators. We need the image of Bethlehem (which means: House of Bread) firstly, because we recall the infant Jesus being laid in a manger (a trough or open box in a stable designed to hold feed or fodder for livestock: taken from Merriam Webster Dictionary) and the parallel of comparing the manager, an open box that feeds cattle and to Jesus lying in this open box as an infant who will eventually feed us is awesome to me. We now travel to Nazareth.

 

            Pope Paul VI, from Liturgy of the Hours, relates to us that the town of Nazareth is a kind of school where we may contemplate and discover what Jesus’ life was like at that age. Just as I explored during Advent, the mysteries from God, to the Father’s heart, to the image of Mary’s womb, to the image of all nations praising this child – all these topics were veiled and hidden in mystery until the appointed time when each aspect was revealed a little bit at a time. We can contemplate in a simple way how God’s Son came to be known to us…profound yet full of hidden meaning and gradually we can learn to imitate him. As Pope Paul VI so eloquently says, “We can learn from the silence of Nazareth and appreciate its great value; we need this wonderful state of mind so that we can remove our minds from the cacophony of our turbulent times; 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 and the counsel of his true teachers.” Just as the Jewish children from Israel followed the traditions of their forefathers, Nazareth can teach us the value of study, preparation, meditation of a well-ordered spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

 

Secondly, we learn about family life. Pope Paul VI asks us to pray that Nazareth shows us itself as a model of what a family should be. I believe that the word, HOLY, is used to teach us this basic characteristic and apply it to the word, FAMILY, so that we can see that as a family, we are not just a unit of people but an image of what the Trinity wanted us to be…HOLY. Pope Paul VI’s image of this Holy Family was that we exemplify this holy model of a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings; the perfect setting for raising children…and for this there is no substitute. Mary Stommes states that “Nobody’s family can hang out a sign, Nothing the matter here.”

 

In the modern family of today, there are many problems i.e. domestic violence, alcohol abuse, drug dependencies, life-threatening illnesses, financial difficulties, jobless situations,  etc. but with God’s grace and mercy, we can overcome the struggles of daily life - we cannot do it alone. The materialistic world of what society would like us to be conflicts greatly with the “holy family” image. It is not about what we can buy, wear and eat but is about all that lies invisible to us…all of the important elements: love, compassion, forgiveness, gentleness, understanding, sharing and caring. All of these elements seem to get lost when other dysfunctions become predominant.

 

As the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family it is a perfect opportunity to take the time to think about our personal family situations and do what is necessary to enter into 2013 with a clean slate forming new patterns that will have the in all essence…the atmosphere of the word HOLY FAMILY. It is so very easy to take our spouses, children and parents for granted. We get on each other’s nerves, we are disappointed by behavior and choices, we get so busy with work and expectations that we forget to remind each other how great is the love that we have for one another. Pat Conroy writes in his novel The Prince of Tides, “in families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”

 

Father Edward Hays is the author of the book, Prayers for the Domestic Church. I would like to share with you the blessing below that comes from Edward Hays’ book giving all of us insight as to what we all can become with an open heart:

 

Blessing Prayer for the Home 

Lord our God,

You whose home is in heaven, on earth…

And in that undiscovered beyond,

Come and bless this house

which is our home.

 

Surround this shelter with Your Holy Spirit.

Encompass all its four sides

With the power of your protection

so that no evil or harm will come near.

May that divine blessing

shield this home from destruction, storm, sickness

And all that might bring evil

to us who shall live within these walls.

 

 Blessed by this doorway,

may all who come it

be treated with respect and kindness.

May all our comings and goings

Be under the seal of God’s loving care.

 

 Blessed be all the rooms of this home.

may each of them be holy

and filled with the spirit of happiness.

May no dark powers

ever be given shelter within any of these rooms

but banished as soon as recognized.

 

Lord our God,

May Your divine name be always holy within our home.

May You as Holy Father lovingly care for all who shall live here.

 

May Your kingdom come in this home

As we love and respect one another.

May we always do Your holy will

by living in harmony and unity.

 

May we never suffer from lack of bread,

from a lack of all that we need

to nourish our family.

May the spirit of pardon and forgiveness reside with us

And be always ready to heal our divisions.

May the spirits of mirth and laughter, hope and faith,

playfulness and prayer, compassion and love

be perpetual guests in our home.

 

May our door be always open to those in need.

Open be this door

to the neighbor or to the stranger.

May our friends

who come to us in times of trouble and sorrow,

find our door open to them and to their needs.

 

May the holy light of God’s presence shine forth brightly in this home and be a blessing for all who shall live here and for everyone who shall come to this door. May God’s holy blessing rest upon us all in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Song du jour:

 Where Charity and Love Prevail

 

Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found;

Brought here together by Christ’s love, by love are we thus bound.

With grateful joy and holy fear God’s charity we learn;

Let us with heart and mind and soul, now love God in return.

Forgive we now each other’s faults as we our faults confess;

and let us love each other well in Christian holiness.

Let strife among us be unknown, let all contention cease;

Be God’s the glory that we seek, be ours God’s holy peace.

Let us recall that in our midst, dwells God’s begotten Son;

As members of his body joined, we are in Christ made one. 

No race or creed can love exclude if honored be God’s name;

our family embraces all whose Father is the same.

 

Text for hymn: Ubi Caritas, tr. Omer Westendorf (1961) Tune: CHRISTIAN LOVE, CM, by Paul Benoit

Title for Blog: by Deacon

 

Keith Fournier from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Art: bing.com/images... Learn from the Journey of Jesus to Jerusalem | 2011-02-08 06:31:33Image Source Page: http://www.colleenhammond.com/catholics/what-we-can-learn-from-the-journey-of-jesus-to-jerusalem

“That in all things God may be glorified”

Sr. Jo-El McLaughlin, OSB

 

 

 

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