This Everything is Grace post is from our former pastor. He granted permission to share this lovely sermon on the Holy Family. He delivered it on December 31, 2017. Although barely over six months now, the message is timeless, “The Devil knows that if he can influence the destruction of marriage as a union of a man and woman and can alter the thinking about what constitutes a family he will have contributed greatly to the loss of many many souls.” Let’s pray for holy families to be bright lights in this darkening world.
Feast of the Holy Family for the Novus Ordo Masses: December 31st.
On this last day of 2017 I would like to wish each and everyone of you a very Happy New Year. May you experience abundant blessings all throughout the New Year and come to know and love our Father in Heaven even more.
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family and something sticks in my mind about the family is something Sr.Lucia of Fatima said. Sr.Lucia was one of the children who saw Our Lady in 1917 and received special secrets and insights into the future. Our Lady allowed her to see not only what hell was like but also to experience the assaults of the Evil One personally. She said once that the Devil was in the “mood for a fight” and that his last great fight would be over the family.
The Devil knows that if he can influence the destruction of marriage as a union of a man and woman and can alter the thinking about what constitutes a family he will have contributed greatly to the loss of many many souls. Without a strong sense of marriage as a permanent union between a man and a woman and without the unity of a loving family in which children are raised to know and love God, the very foundation of society will be shaken. And so the Devil is trying hard to destroy marriage and family and is succeeding to a large extent.
There are more divorces now than ever, there are more children being raised by a single parent, there are more young people who are depressed and suicidal. Many people are resorting to abortion and using artificial contraception. We have many challenges. And the family is in the middle of it all.
Our Lady of Fatima came with a message of peace for the modern world but unfortunately very few have truly taken her advice to heart. She asked for the daily rosary but few people have heeded her message. She asked for the Five First Saturdays in reparation for the sins committed against her Immaculate Heart but how many people do it? She asked for sacrifices to be made for the conversion of sinners. There seem to be few who really make sacrifices and do penance for others.
She knew that the future would have many challenges and that families would suffer greatly. And she knew that many souls would be lost forever.
On this Holy Family Sunday the Church asks us to take a look at the Holy Family and see what we can do to imitate them as a family. Pope Paul VI said that the home at Nazareth where the Holy Family lived was a school of holiness. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived and worked together in an atmosphere of silence and prayer. There was a deep respect and love between them.
There is very little known about Jesus’ boyhood and youth. The only glimpse we are given is an incident when he was 12 years old and was separated from Mary and Joseph for three days. When He was found He was in the Temple instructing the elders. Mary and Joseph were truly worried about Him and when they found Him He said to them, “Did you not know that I had to be about my Father’s business”?
After that, He lived with them in the small home at Nazareth and was completely obedient to them until He finally left home at around 30 years of age. He lived in obscurity and hiddenness. All this to show us how to live as a Holy Family.
Where there is obedience toward parents, where there is prayer and devotion toward God, where there is respect and love for one another, where there is honest work, there are the ingredients for a holy and happy family.
Can things be changed in society to support families? That is a hard question to answer. It might seem impossible now to change attitudes toward marriage and family and really convince people of the necessity of prayer and penance. But, nothing should be ruled out for Christians who have strong faith. What seems an impossibility can come about by God’s grace. With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.
The message the Church wants us to hear today is that we each try to do our part in creating a holy and loving family. Children obey your parents. Spouses serve and love one another. Pray together as a family especially the family rosary. Turn away from the distractions and imitate the silence of the Holy Family because it is only in silence that we can truly hear the voice of God speaking to us interiorly.
Let us see our work as the special means that God has given us for our sanctification and for influencing others in our society. Let us be first and foremost good Christians and pray for our sanctification. The family is often referred to by the Church as the “domestic church” it is where God is acknowledged daily, it is where we gather to pray, it is where we are schooled in Christian virtue, it is where our faith is lived and deepened.
As we look forward to the New Year we might ask ourselves, what can I do to make my family a holy family? If my kids are grown and away from the church can I come to daily Mass to offer it for them more often during the week, can I make sacrifices for their conversion, can I pray the daily rosary for them? What might we each do to please and love God more during the New Year and help our families get to heaven?
May the Holy family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph assist us in making these resolutions and keeping them.