Thursday, January 04, 2007



The Holy Season of Christmas is a time of deep significance for families. It brings them together to celebrate the Birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. At the center of these celebrations is the Holy Family, for these are days of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is with a human and a divine wisdom that the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family.

Pope Pius XII said that there is nothing dearer to the Church than the family. The Second Vatican Council referred to the family as the "Domestic Church." Children, it taught, are the "supreme gift of marriage and contribute substantially to the welfare of their parents." Parents "should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of Catholic faith to their children."

Marriage is not of human institution; rather, it is of divine origin. Marriage must be holy because God is holy. It must be filled with love because God is love. In our day, pagan influences and the scourge of divorce are ravaging the holy state of matrimony. Far too often, discord and violence have replaced domestic peace and tranquility. The Second Vatican Council warned that modern man is trying to build a world apart from God; modern man seeks happiness apart from God. Without God there can never be domestic peace and tranquility.

In today’s Mass, the Church prays in the opening Collect: "O Lord Jesus Christ, Who being subject to Mary and Joseph did sanctify home life with ineffable virtues: grant that with the aid of both, we may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family, and attain to eternal fellowship with them.”

How do we attain this sanctity and fellowship? Christ must be at the center of the family. To become a holy family, a Domestic Church, families must begin with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. United as one, the family should approach the table of the Lord to receive Holy Communion. Remember the admonition of Our Lord: "Without me, you can do nothing!" Without the graces received in Holy Communion, there can never be the sanctity or the peace of Christ individually or as a family.

The Sacrament of Confession should also be a family event. My good Catholic Parents! Do you want to guard your children from the evil influences of a world ravished by lust, pornography, drugs, violence, greed, etc.? As a family come to the Holy Sacrament of Confession at least once a month. By means of frequent confession, the family encounters the forgiving Lord. Not only will families find the forgiveness of sins but will also undergo a purification of conscience and the strengthening of the will. The grace of the sacrament fortifies the family to live in Christ's holiness and peace.

Also, family prayer is not to be limited to grace at meals. As Our Lady asked of us at Fatima, we must pray the Family Rosary every day. The Rosary is a prayer centered on Our Lord Jesus. The Rosary brings Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph into our homes. Our Mother Mary will grant the family many graces. She will be our mother and our model for virtuous living. Saint Joseph will protect the family from dangers physical and spiritual. May the Holy Family be the inspiration for our families and make them HOLY in the peace of Christ.

Fr. Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.


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