Sunday, December 28, 2008
Feast of the Holy Family
Today we celebrate the Holy Innocents usually, but it is the Sunday after Christmas and so it is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is also a day to celebrate all families. Children bring such joy to a family but they also bring trials and anxieties. Even the Holy Family suffered when Jesus stayed behind and said nothing to his parents. Imagine what it means to think you have lost your child. I think this story in the Gospel is there for families today who struggle to raise a child in this world of ours.
The opening prayer for today's liturgy is "Father, keep us to live as the holy family united in respect and love. Bring us the joy and peace of your eternal home.
I looked at the Alternate Opening Prayer and it has us asking to be taught the sanctity of human love and says "show us the value of family life, and help us to live in peace with all men that we may share in your life for ever."
I have been reading a book that I just realized that I have not shared in the list of good spiritual books on the right of this blog. I love Peter van Breemen, S.J.'s books and this one is called The God Who Won't Let Go (Ave Maria Press, 2001); perhaps I did not share it because I mostly share books published in just the last year or so, but this one is worth reading and praying over. The book is the result of a retreat he gave to the Benedictines of St. Hildegard Abbey in Bingen, Germany. Peter says in the Preface that whoever knows his previous books will recognize the central theme of God's unconditional love for each of us as we are (and not as we should be). God loves us into existence and longs for us to have life and joy in abundance. It is God's abiding desire that our lives be eminently meaningful and bear rich fruit, fruit that lasts. Put simply, what counts is love.
I find the book full of pithy sentences that I want to copy in the section of my Journal that I keep for quotes. "God will go to any length to seek us out" - I believe this and think you will find this book helpful.