A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

The Holy Family: A Model for the Rest of Us

Posted on: December 31, 2012

As I listened to the gospel reading for the feast day of the Holy Family, I noted that Jesus stayed behind in the temple at age twelve—the same age my son is now. And it got me thinking about how I could take the example of the Holy Family as a model for my family.

As my parish priest pointed out, we don’t know much about the Holy Family. But we do know that Mary and Joseph listened to God, did God’s will, and raised Jesus according to God’s word.

The Catechism says (in paragraph 2223) that “Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.”

It’s easy for me to recognize my own failings. I don’t know about you, but I can be impatient with my son. Sometimes I put my need to finish chores and check off items on my to-do list ahead of spending time with him. I nag him to do his own chores and don’t praise him enough for the little things he does to help out or to be kind.

Acknowledging—and working to correct—my failings is not as simple. But when I do make time to listen to his piano practice and compliment his improvement, play a video game with him, or even go sledding as we did the other day, I can tell that my son is happier, and we’re willing to cut each other a bit more slack.

Even as we identify and work on our shortcomings, I think parents need to remember the things we’re doing right. Not just making sure our children’s needs for food, clothing, shelter and sleep are met, but listening when they tell us about their day; teaching them the value of charity; taking them to Mass so they can hear God’s word and receive the Eucharist.

I’m thankful that the Church offers parents guidance and support in raising their families:

  • Parish priests are there to listen and offer advice, not to mention provide the vital sacrament of reconciliation.
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church: Popular and Definitive Edition has a lot of guidance for families, and the index lists many entries under the heading “Family” alone.
  • And last, but definitely not least, prayer. In church with the congregation or as you light a candle, with a prayer group, or on your own, you can pray for guidance, patience and strength. The Holy Family Prayer Book includes a novena with the Holy Family as a model of obedience, prayer, humility, purity, love, work, trust and peace—a model for all families.

May God bless you and your family as we enter a new year!

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1 Response to "The Holy Family: A Model for the Rest of Us"

As a parent of a son the same age, this was a telling reading! May we recognize the holiness in all of our families!

Comments are closed.

Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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