The Pope said today:
“The family of Jesus truly merited the title of ‘holy’, because it was completely caught up in the desire to fulfill the will of God, incarnate in the adorable presence of Jesus.” (My translation of the Italian original)
Benedict suggests, then, that our families’ holiness comes from being taken up into the desire to fulfill the will of God. The words the Pope used were, essere preso da, which means “to be taken by”, or if you will, “completely dedicated to”.
The Pope went on to observe that on one hand, our families are very much like the Holy Family in that like us they worked together, sacrificed together, and were a model of “amore coniugale” (conjugal love). He also said the Holy Family was unique in its singular vocation tied to the mission of the Son of God.
The deacon assigned to a local parish last night preached on the similarity of our families with the Holy Family. He made a point of describing how even the Holy Family was imperfect, by which I believe he meant that it too suffered hardship and disappointment. It wasn’t the Leave It To Beaver family of the 1950s, or the Father Knows Best family, where everything turned our okay after thiry minutes of air time. Imagine the three days of anxiety for Mary and Joseph when they lost Jesus in Jerusalem, or Mary’s indescribable pain as she stood near her son as he was tortured and executed. Yet that was her family, and the will of God.
May we dedicate our families to the will of God, however it may become known to us. May we never be discouraged by the challenges we encounter in following his will for us.