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February Devotion

This devotion is dedicated to the Holy Family. Of course I am speaking of Mary and Joseph as husband and wife with their child Jesus. The Holy Family is the model of virtue for Christian families to follow. "At the very outset of Christ's work on earth, God showed the world a family in which, as Pope Leo XIII teaches, "all men might behold a perfect model of domestic life, and of all virtue and holiness." The harmony, unity, and holiness which characterized this holy Family make it the model for all Christian families." (Catholic Culture) Jesus, Mary and Joseph were Jewish and followed the traditions and teaching faithfully.

The Holy Family models for us what family life should exemplify. It is a school of virtue for both parents and children. There we find God, and learn how to connect with God and with others. The family is where love is freely given without self-interest. It is where we learn to love, to pray and to practice the gift of charity.

Pope John Paul II has said, “The family, more than any other human reality, is the place in which the person is loved for himself and in which he learns to live the sincere gift of self” (Nov. 27, 2002).

We should ask ourselves if our own families model that of the Holy Family. (Catholic Culture)

In that home at Nazareth we meet a couple who shows an openness to allowing God to lead their life together. Mary surely had other plans for her life; as many believe, she took a vow of virginity at an early age, so becoming a physical mother was something she did not anticipate. Yet, she heard God’s invitation, and knew that His plans were better for her life; therefore, she gives her fiat — that is, her “yes” to God.

St. Joseph opens his heart to the messenger sent by God and takes Mary into his home. This would not be the first or last time that St. Joseph followed God’s lead in his life as he protected the Holy Family. After Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, they follow the prompting of an angel to flee into Egypt for safety and wait there until another angelic message leads them back home. The Holy Family is a great example for families everywhere to always be open to whatever God’s will might be and to always be listening for God to speak. He might speak his will in prayer or through another person. By our own prayer and discernment, we too can follow God’s lead for our life.

We need to be open to God’s grace to value the positive and to accept our mistakes — and to be willing to rectify them. Parenting is a very challenging responsibility and at times errors are made despite the best intentions. Recognizing this, children should trust their parents and never forget that parents want only what is best for them. (Simply Catholic)

Which leads us to what may be the most important family virtue — forgiveness. Living so intimately within the family nucleus naturally gives rise to unpleasant situations where someone is apt to be offended. St. Paul knew this when he told us to “bear with and forgive one another.” The health of our family may depend on how quickly we learn to forgive without harboring feelings of resentment.

No family can thrive and grow without constant work. Even the material details that take time and effort are essential to keeping the family strong. Everyone has to pull together for the good of the family — even to the point of putting ahead of our own needs and ambitions the happiness of other family members, setting aside our own selfish desires.

It is also important to pray as a family, especially the holy rosary. Prayer will help us to intensify our closeness with each other and to learn to forgive. (Catholic Culture)


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