Updated: Jun 21, 2022
A fun fact about the Catholic tradition is that each month of the year is dedicated to a particular topic or theme. In January, the month was dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, and in February, the focus is on the Holy Family. The Holy Family we are referring to is the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as models to us in our own families. Regardless of how your own family looks like, we are all called to bring the love of God to those around us: whether single, married, divorced, widowed, with or without children. The Holy Family shows us what true love and sacrifice looks like. I would invite you to read the first several chapters in the gospel of Luke in order to experience deeper the life of the Holy Family. We only get a few glimpses into the life of the Holy Family in the New Testament, but the glimpses we do receive are quite profound. Joseph cares for pregnant Mary while she rides for miles by donkey as they travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the required enrollment (Luke 2: 1-20). Joseph also protects his new family as they flee to Egypt from the persecution of Herod. Mary and Joseph also follow Jewish custom by presenting baby Jesus in the temple (the feast day we celebrated on February 2) where he is blessed by Simeon and Anna (Luke 2: 22-40). Then, when Jesus is twelve, during a trip to visit Jerusalem, his parents go in search of him for three days after realizing he was still in the temple. (Luke 2: 42-51) Jesus is also obedient and respectful to his parents, growing in age and in faith under their guidance. Whoever God has placed in our care: spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, pets, we can look to the selfless example of the holy family as a guide to better caring for, listening to, and loving those in our families and communities (including ourselves). As best as we can in our individual families, we can prioritize cultivating daily family prayer (both familiar and new forms of prayer) before meals or bed, talking about how we can each live out our faith, encouraging one another in receiving the sacraments (going to Mass each week in-person or virtually and taking part in monthly Confession if possible). We can read the Bible with our spouse, children, parents, roommates, friends and utilize online study resources such as what is available to us for free on Formed. In the family, it is our job to help one another get to heaven and to grow in the virtues shown to us by the Holy Family.