The Holy Family Model
On the Sunday after Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family.
The Final Battle
Reportedly, before her death, Sister Lucia, one of the three children of Fatima, said, “The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family.”
Her prediction was in a letter sent to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra when he was Archbishop of Bologna, Italy.
When I think of the word family in the context of my own family, I think of safety and peace, happy dinner table conversations, and warm holiday memories. What a disturbing and nightmarish thought that our family is under attack.
Sister Lucia continued, “Don’t be afraid because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way because this is the decisive issue.” Then she concluded: “Nevertheless, Our Lady has already crushed his head.”
A Family United
Last summer, we traveled across the country to spend time with family; our days were full of laughter, little cousins adventuring, and long late-night story sharing over bonfires. On one of those nights, my mom and I discussed the devil’s attack on the family. How family reunions such as ours, when going to Mass, means taking two pews for us to pray together, must anger him so much.
Over the next two weeks amidst the happiness and celebrating, there were pockets of unexplained turbulence, and in these moments, we reminded each other, “He’s fighting back.”
Although I would prefer to spend time with family without any hiccups, a sense of gratification came with knowing our simple family gathering was a threat to the enemy.
So, in our everyday life, where can we begin? How can we go about protecting our families from a fight against a powerful enemy who wants to tear us apart?
One of my favorite quotes by Mother Teresa of Calcutta is, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” It’s so easy to go to work, talk to friends, and make small talk with the supermarket cashier, and then come home and have only leftover scraps of yourself for your family.
But whatever energy and patience we have saved, we are called to share it with our family. We need to imitate Able, who offered the best of what he had, rather than Cain, who gave what he felt he could spare.
It’s hard to imagine that simply loving our families and giving them the very best of ourselves could change the world, as Mother Teresa said. But when I imagine a day in the life of Saint Joseph, I can’t imagine him giving Jesus and Mary anything less. Saint Joseph’s impressive litany of titles includes “diligent protector of Christ” and even “terror of demons.” But part of what he did every day was going home and loving his family.
I want to make that my model.