FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY...
Happy Feast...found this from two years ago!!!
I thought I would share this amazing homily From Father Cummings to help prepare for this Sunday's feast of the Holy Family.
Enjoy, meditate, and pass on!!! This message is so wonderful!!!
We're still celebrating Christmas of course, when Christ came into the world to renew it, BEHOLD, He said, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW. Thanks to Him, civilization is being transformed, through the Church, into something altogether new, the Kingdom of God. And how did Christ begin? He spent thirty years at home, in His own home. The home, the family, is the first thing that Christ sanctified. Notice also, what was His first sign that made His disciples believe in Him? He changed the water into wine at Cana. By that sign, He showed that He was elevating married love, from natural love to supernatural Love, and henceforth, marriages were to be holy and the beginning of holy families. As our present Holy Father says, "The Holy Family is the beginning of countless other holy families."
Just as Christ began His mission with the family, so also we must begin with the family. The family is the cell of society, likewise, the Christian Family is the cell of the Church, of the Kingdom of God. That's why St. Paul calls it the Domestic Church. Our families are to be the agents of change in our culture. The time for renewal of our families is long overdue. Now we have no choice, either return our families to sanity and to sanctity of the Church and our society falls totally apart. Obviously we have to look to the Holy Family as our model. We must remember that the Holy Family is also the model of Religious Life, those who live out the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. But recall that all Christians, though they do not take those formal vows, they have to live those evangelical counsels according to their state in life. Poverty, chastity and obedience are the antidotes to the three enemies of our soul, the world, the flesh and the devil. They're what St. John mysteriously called the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. And so how you live poverty, chastity and obedience in your families, makes a good examination of conscience of how holy your family is.
Poverty, you have to remember, is a virtue not a problem It means simplicity, austerity, self denial. Financial strain that is voluntarily chosen and embraced out of love, either because of tithing or because of welcoming more children is a blessed thing. Likewise reduced income resulting from having only one income is a most beautiful way of choosing poverty out of love. It brings a family together like glue. Remember the Holy Family was poor. That's clear when they brought two turtledoves as their offering, that was the offering of the poor. It's a blessing to wear hand-me-downs, to share rooms, to have to make up simple games instead of having computer ones. A simple life, remember, leads to a prayerful life, leads to more dependence upon God and His providence. And a family that prays together, stays together.
An early Christian document written only fifty years after the death of the last Apostle, written to the emperor of the time, describing Christians, reads, "And their wives, O king, are pure as virgins, their daughters modest and their men refrain themselves from all unlawful intercourse and uncleanness." How much we wish we could still describe Christian families that way. Every Christian mother should be looked up to as a genuine reflection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, totally beautiful, by husband and by children on account of her purity of heart. Chaste hearts are hearts which are selfless. The body is to express self-giving, never self-seeking. For conjugal love to be wholesome and even holy, it is essential that spouses always remain in Christ's grace and never separate their married love from its orientation of procreating children. Only chaste parents can raise chaste children, especially in a culture that is demonically set on destroying these ideals. At a very young age personalities are getting warped, vocations are getting lost and the seeds are being sown for the broken families of tomorrow. The greatest evil of all,the inability to see God, even permanently, is also occurring. Chastity, we must remember, cannot flourish in isolation, without all of the other virtues that we just heard St. Paul list; patience, self-sacrifice, humility, piety, self-discipline, most of all bound together by love. The family has to be a gymnasium of all the virtues.
Then finally obedience: Paul speaks in another place, of mutual submission of husband and wife, out of reverence for Christ. This may be the most important element in this triad of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. The most important and also, the most overlooked. Our culture prides itself on independence and personal choice as the highest of all goals. But no, the husband and wife should freely submit themselves to each other in their respective areas of authority. Each has a place where their authority should be unquestioned. As one of the Holy Fathers said, "If the man is the head of the house, the woman is the heart." Children, of course, should obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord, as we just heard from St. Paul. There is no law of psychological development that says that all teenagers must become rebellious and disrespectful. That's an aberration, even if it's the norm, not to be expected or accepted but resisted with the help of the sacraments, careful training at a young age, and great respect for each child. For which reason Paul adds, FATHERS, DO NOT PROVOKE YOUR CHILDREN, LEST THEY BECOME DISCOURAGED.
Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. Let us use this time of purification, to purify our families, convert our hearts to be more like those in the house at Nazareth. Let us ask the Lord for forgiveness for all the errors of our past, so that we'll not only find happiness in our life, but we'll lead society a step closer to being one big family in Christ Jesus.
WOW...wasn't that amazing!!! If your interested in reading more of Fr. Cummings homilies than purchase his book titled Making God the Joy of Our Soul. Copies available from John and Miriam Lademan, 1677 Pleasant Plains Rd. Annapolis, Md 21401.
God Bless our families on this special feast in the Church calendar!!!
Happy, Holy feast of the Holy Family!!! JMJ!!!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY...