Dear Friends in Christ,
We continue to always keep family life in the forefront, especially during the month of February which the Church dedicates to the Holy Family. One might wonder why. Some say it is because the month begins with the Presentation being celebrated on February 2nd. Saint John Paul II said, “The Holy Family is the beginning of countless other holy families.” He said, “The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family.” He notes that the struggle between good and evil, life and death and even love and hatred often comes down to the family. The seer of Our Lady of Family, Lucia, told Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, “Father, a time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family. And those who will work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation. But do not be afraid, because Our Lady has already crushed his head.” So many of the crisis we see in society come down to problems within the family. So often, we see heroic mothers and fathers raising their children on their own; grandparents raising their children’s children; physical and verbal abuse within families; and a lack of God in the center of family life are just some of the problems. So often, it is not the members of the family’s choice, but we can choose to be part of a larger family (not perfect, but certainly God centered) and that is our parish family. I am so grateful to be the spiritual father of the family of Our Lady of Hope. Our parish family is beginning the Holy Season of Lent, the most intense time within the Church year which calls us to examine our spiritual lives and seek ways to eradicate sin and embrace grace. Our family will be strengthened by our participation in parish life: Holy Mass every weekend without fail; perhaps going to Mass on a weekday; certainly going to confession to clean house; making frequent visits to the chapel in adoration (especially on Fridays); Stations of the Cross after Soup and Scripture; praying the Holy Rosary; the list is long. We need to get rid of the stuff that overly fills our life not leaving room for God: we must fast from food and excessive alcohol; giving up marijuana; avoiding any pornography; not wasting time on entertainments that leave no time for prayer and giving alms to the poor, supporting your parish and giving to the House of Chairty. These are some suggestions. We are a family, so let us pray for each other and support each other by positively witnessing our love for the Savior of all mankind. The Holy Family: the Lord Jesus, Mary, our Mother and the beloved Saint Joseph can help us with their love and they are an example to us. What does the Holy Family call us to be as a family whether our families at home and/or even our parish family? Again, to quote Pope Saint John Paul II: “Accordingly, the family must go back to the “beginning” of God’s creative act, if it is to attain self-knowledge and self-realization in accordance with the inner truth not only of what it is but also of what it does in history. And since in God’s plan it has been established as an “intimate community of life and love,” the family has the mission to become more and more what it is, that is to say, a community of life and love, in an effort that will find fulfillment, as will everything created and redeemed, in the Kingdom of God. Looking at it in such a way as to reach its very roots, we must say that the essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love. Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church His bride.” (Familaris Consortio, Part 3, 17). We are a family, but like all families it takes work to love and care for each other. May this Lent help us to see where we need to grow in order to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselfl.
God bless you,