Today is our saint day. Tiffany and I are sharing these a week early in anticipation of the upcoming holiday festivities that will be spent with family and friends (and not reading blogs!).
In case you missed the last few installments of this series, head there and have a look! Tiffany at Life of a Catholic Librarian, is writing about St. Stephen while I will settle in with The Holy Family. Please head over for her part of this post.
The Feast of The Holy Family is celebrated on December 28th and it’s purpose is to celebrate the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) and present them as the example we, as faithful Catholics should endeavor to emulate.
As I think about this Feast, I can hear my boys sing a song they are learning for their Christmas mass.
We are one body, one body in Christ;
and we do not stand alone.
Family is such a treasure. We all have family whether we have children, or not. We come from parents. We are witnesses to one another of the gift of love that the Holy Family shared so perfectly. We, are not so perfect, right? We have fragmented relationships and estranged loved ones that with good reason, we cannot remain connected to. This is where the need for family is so apparent:
Isn’t that the love of the family? The ability to see past one’s needs and focus on the other? This is how families continue, this is how the thread of the first Holy Family continues to sew generation after generation. I have “family” like this. Friends that embrace my brokenness and love me anyway. To those select people, I say thank you. Why not show your family, both by blood and not, that you appreciate the special role they play in your life? Tell them you are enriched by them. He is the vine and we are the branches. We are all one body, one family in Christ.
In his Letter to Families, St. John Paul II notes
The love with which God “loved the world” (Jn 3:16), the love with which Christ loved each and every one “to the end” (Jn 13:1), makes it possible to address this message to each family, as a living “cell” of the great and universal “family” of mankind. The Father, Creator of the Universe, and the Word Incarnate, the Redeemer of humanity, are the source of this universal openness to all people as brothers and sisters, and they impel us to embrace them in the prayer which begins with the tender words: “Our Father“. (February 2, 1994)
A wonderful way to incorporate this feast day in your home is to make a family meal together. Catholic Culture shares that a typical Lebanese meal of stuffed cabbage rolls would work nicely as it’s the kind of food Mary would have served Jesus. My grandmother made stuffed cabbage on my stepfathers side and it was always a favorite. Catholic Cuisine shares a tasty recipe here.
In my research, I also found another great liturgical resource from Veronica at My Catholic Kitchen. She suggests making chicken and dumplings with the family. It looks easy, and who doesn’t love a warm bowl of delicious when it’s cold out?
Say a prayer dedicating your family to the Holy Family. There are a few lovely options here. Personally, we are using this prayer:
A Prayer to the Holy Family, for One‘s Family
Dear Lord, bless our family. Be so kind as to give us the unity, peace, and mutual love that You found in Your own family in the little town of Nazareth.
Saint Joseph, bless the head of our family. Obtain for him the strength, the wisdom, and the prudence he needs to support and direct those under his care.
Mother Mary, bless the mother of our family. Help her to be pure and kind, gentle and self-sacrificing. For the more she resembles you, the better will our family be.
Lord Jesus, bless the children of our family. Help them to be obedient and devoted to their parents. Make them more and more like You. Let them grow, as You did, in wisdom and age and grace before God and man.
Holy Family of Nazareth, make our family and home more and more like Yours, until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with You. Amen.
Holy Family, pray for us!