SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Feast of The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

December 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Feast Days, Liz Estler, Praying Through Art, Seasonal

“The family has an essential role in the divine plan of salvation. Not only was it ‘willed by God in the very act of creation' (Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio-The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World, John Paul II, 1981), Jesus himself was part of the Holy Family, ‘where he grew and became strong [and was] filled with wisdom' (Luke 2:40a), and where he sanctified it by his presence” (The Family as Domestic Church-How She Hands on the Faith, Elizabeth D. Estler, December 15, 2009).

Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ's life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God's Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And, gradually we may even learn to imitate him…

First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value… The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God's inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers… Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be… a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings… Finally, in Nazareth…we learn about work and the discipline it entails…” (From an address by Pope Paul VI, January 5, 1964, from the Second Reading, Office of Readings, Feast of the Holy Family, Liturgy of the Hours).

Let us pray that all families be strengthened in faith, hope and charity so that we might emulate the Holy Family, which Jesus sanctified by His presence. So too, may Christ sanctify these domestic churches, which are “a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2205) and the initial places where the Christian life is experienced, preached, heard and believed (cf Romans 10:14-15). May the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph intercede for us.

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About Liz Estler

Liz holds a Master of Arts in Ministry Degree (St. John's Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts), Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Theology (Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation), Liturgy Certificate (Boston Archdiocese), and a BS degree in Biology and Spanish (Nebraska Wesleyan University - Lincoln). She has served as hospital chaplain associate, sacristan, translator and in other parish ministries. She was a regular columnist for a military newspaper in Europe and has been published in a professional journal. She once waded in the Trevi Fountain!

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