The Prayerful Family
When we see the story of the persecution of Herod in trying to kill Jesus he kills every male child, we understand that this was the evil of Herod, but that concept of Herod would have been endemic in his kingdom. Herod is the one who was so evil that Augustus Caesar proclaimed that it would be better to be a pig in his house than his son.
Whatever Herod said became law in the land and Herod demanding that all male children under two years of age be executed became the law and it was carried out. It was a horrible thing but reflects on just how evil this dictator was.
It also reflects many things that can be found in the history of the human race. Such things as genocides and even human sacrifice occurred in many places and the killing of children was not unusual practice, especially as human sacrifice. This happened among cultures in the middle east and even the Americas, most especially the INCA.
This day is the Solemnity of the Holy Family which is always the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s.
For us today, it is an interesting time because our culture is seeking to redefine the family in its quest to redefine the human race. It is the latest form of cultural attempt to control. Not as drastic as Herod but another concept in our history.
How do we respond?
First we have to understand whom we are. We are not just a brand of Christianity, we are Catholics and through our Baptism and Confirmation we receive the Holy Spirit to be agents of God’s kingdom on Earth.
Catholicism is a mystical faith. That means that a central element of our faith is prayer and union with Christ through prayer. This is why we practice such devotions as Eucharistic Adoration, the Mass and the Rosary. These are mystical devotions in which we are centered on knowing Christ more deeply and living our lives influenced by the ways of Christ and growing in divine wisdom.
This is so central that we cannot say we live our faith if we are not people of prayer. Even our sacraments are intimate experiences with Christ. They are avenues of grace to lead us closer to Christ our lord.
Therefore, our action has to be rooted in knowing God’s will through prayer and doing it.
Our culture rejects our understanding of the divine and human but that is not our issue. Our issue is living through our relationship with Christ in such a way that others know Christ is alive.
This brings us back to the holy family and to our family.
First, do be aware that the members of the Holy Family in their struggles including being forced to flee to Egypt did so through their prayerful experience with God. You can rest
assured that their experience was rooted in prayer.
So if theirs was rooted in prayer, if you want to be a true Catholic family yours too must be rooted in prayer individually and as a family.
Catholic life is rooted in vocation. There are four vocations: the marriage vocation, the single vocation, the religious vocation and the ordained vocation. They are all vocations and they cannot be lived without prayer and not just rote prayers but prayers of communication with God.
So how do we live our vocation in the midst of our current culture that is seeking to redefine the family, redefine the human and take over the decision of who will and will not be born to our world and all the other forms of change being legislated in our world? The answer is simple.
We live our vocation as Christ called us to live it. We must be people of prayer and through prayer learn to be people who are obedient to Christ.
Our role is not to bonk people over the head with our morality because when we do, we become part of the problem not the solution.
Like communism, the current changes in our culture are human concepts rooted in understanding who will and will not be the most powerful in our world.
We are nothing less than witnesses to Christ hence why our role is essential. We are the ones who by our lives must testify to the truth. We have a role to be prophets to a world lost in concepts and to be beacons of light to those seeking what this world does not offer.
We need to model the holy family as people of prayer. We need to be obedient to Christ in our vocation whether that be as a single person, religious or ordained or as father and mother to children and husband and wife to each other in a sacramental marriage.
Just as the holy family had to pray in all their difficult situations, we must do the same thing. When tension arises among husband and wife, they must pray. When difficulties happen in the lives of their children, they must pray; when someone loses a job, they must pray and all the time in between—they must pray individually and as a family. Prayer has to be the central activity in the life of the family to keep it strong.
The reason is that concepts eventually fail, Christ never does. Herod is lost to History, Christ is not and the true power is in those who did not embrace concepts but became channels of Christ in their families and in their lives. That is something you and I must do so that the message of salvation may be communicated to all, even those lost in concepts that we reject.