The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Today is Holy Family Sunday. Pope Paul VI, during his visit to a school called The Holy Family, said, we “understand why we must maintain a spiritual discipline, if we wish to follow the teaching of the Gospel and become disciples of Christ”. He added: “In the first place, it teaches us silence. Oh! If only esteem for silence, a wonderful and indispensable spiritual atmosphere, could be reborn within us! Whereas we are deafened by the din, the noise and discordant voices in the frenetic, turbulent life of our time. O silence of Nazareth! Teach us to be steadfast in good thoughts, attentive to our inner life, ready to hear God’s hidden inspiration clearly and the exhortations of true teachers” (Discourse in Nazareth, 5 January 1964).
Indeed, family is the school of prayer, as Pope Benedict XVI said, “the family is the domestic Church and must be the first school of prayer. It is in the family that children, from the tender age, can learn to perceive the meaning of God, also thanks to the teaching and example of their parents: to live in an atmosphere marked by God’s presence. An authentically Christian education cannot dispense with the experience of prayer. If one does not learn how to pray in the family it will later be difficult to bridge this gap.” (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, December 28, 2011)
On this feast, let us remember our own family with all of its traits: close or distant, big or small, dysfunctional or operational. What does family mean to us? Let’s remember of how our family operates as the school of prayer.
Some of you might be like me, who did not grow up in a Catholic family. My parents never planted a seed of prayer in my life. Nevertheless, I began to learn about prayer from the Catholic primary school that I attended. So if you are in the same boat as me, perhaps we can reflect on the other “family” that taught us about prayer. Let us think about our many “families” that teach us about prayer. In our prayers today, perhaps we can bring all our thoughts and feelings about the Holy family and our families – biological or extended — before Christ.