Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Holy Family: A Triple Threat

I suspect that when most people think about the Holy Family, they imagine a picture of total happiness, where there is no suffering of any kind and where every day just turns out perfectly. Yes, Jesus and Mary were completely sinless, and Joseph was a most chaste and righteous man. But, they still had their difficulties.

The movie The Nativity Story is what first gave me a sense of this, but if you think about it, Scripture reveals it too. The Holy Family had many trials, including public scorn, homelessness, harsh environments and traveling conditions, a power-hungry and blood-thirsty king, and the pressures -- and ultimately the suffering -- that comes with knowing that your son must die to save the world.

What we can learn from this is that the Holy Family can relate to a family that struggles. A sword pierced Mary's heart, so that the thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed (cf. Lk 2:35). Joseph, for his part, had always on his shoulders the task of protecting and providing for this holiest of holy families. They both had quite a scare when, for three days, they had no clue where to find their son (cf. Lk 2:41-49). Of course, if anyone knows suffering, it is Jesus. As a family, they are acquainted with struggle, but more importantly, they also know how to overcome and to survive.

Because of their family experience, they are powerful intercessors when we wrestle with family issues. If you suffer because of your mother, find solace in Mary. She cares greatly for the entire Body of Christ, just as she cared for the literal body of Christ. Just as Sarah was the spiritual mother of the Jews (cf. 1 Pet 3:6), Mary is the spiritual mother of "those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus" (Rev 12:17). Her prayer for us will always be powerful because her will is always united with her Son's, and because "the prayer of the righteous has great power in its effects" (Jas 5:16).

If you suffer because of your father, find solace in St. Joseph, Jesus' father in this world. St. Joseph will never forsake his fatherly duty. He is the patron saint and the protector of families. With his powerful intercession, he protects God's children, just like he protected God's Child. As Mary's most chaste spouse, he also teaches boys how to be good men, and men how to be good men too. Pray that St. Joseph will help your father to be the man that God is calling him to be.

Of course, there is no intercession, no solace, no love, no source of strength and courage and hope like that of the Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is our Rock and our Salvation. In Him, we can do all things, overcome all things, be all things. Together, the mother, the father, and the Son are a triple threat against anything that threatens the integrity of the family.

For more on the Holy Family, see the following articles. I conclude with the words from a song about the Holy Family that we often sing at Mass.

Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary ... have mercy on us.
Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church ... pray for us.
Joseph, Protector of Families ... pray for us.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic
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Articles:
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Sing of Mary

Sing of Mary, pure and lowly, Virgin mothjer undefiled.
Sing of God's own Son most holy, Who became her little child.
Fairest child of fairest mother, God the Lord who came to earth;
Word made flesh, our very brother, Takes our nature by His birth.

Sing of Mary, pure and spotless, Born to bear the Holy Child;
Blest was she, to do God's bidding, Blessed, gentle, meek and mild.
Blessed, too, was good Saint Joseph, Foster father to the Lord;
Let us praise God's Holy Family Who brought forth God's Holy Word.

Sing of Mary, sing of Joseph, keepers of the wondrous Boy,
Called by God to high vocation, Sharing sorrow, sharing joy;
Sharing love, and by that loving in their home in Nazareth,
Forming One whose grace and glory suffered, died and conquered death.

Glory be to God the Father; Glory be to God the Son;
Glory be to God the Spirit; Glory to the Three in One.
From the blessed Virgin Mary, From Saint Joseph praise ascends,
And the Church the strain reechoes Unto earth's remotest ends.
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Text: Vss. 1-2, Roland F. Palmer, SSJE, 1891-1985, © Estate of Roland Palmer. All rights reserved. Vs. 3, Herbert O'Driscoll, ©. Melody: Christian Lyre, 1830.

12 comments:

Laura H. said...

I like that song. :D (I sand it just now! Haha)

Laura H. said...

Maybe I meant sang? Yeah I think that was probably what I meant...

*blush*

Athanasius contra mundo said...

Life was not always easy for the Holy Family. Not much is said about Joseph, but there are the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

phatcatholic said...

Yes, the seven sorrows are another excellent example of what the members of the Holy Family had to endure. Here are the seven sorrows:

1. at the prophecy of Simeon;
2. at the flight into Egypt;
3. having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem;
4. meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary;
5. standing at the foot of the Cross;
6. Jesus being taken from the Cross;
7. at the burial of Christ.

Adrienne said...

So glad you wrote this since they are my thoughts, too. It just saved me the time and you said it much better than I could have:) Thanks

phatcatholic said...

Your welcome adrienne!

Leticia said...

You summarized a lot of my reaction to the harshness of the Holy Family's beginnings as shown in "The Nativity Story", it reminds me that to whom God has given much, He expects much. We must remember that, and then the Holy Family truly become role models for our difficult times.

phatcatholic said...

Very true, Leticia. Thanks for the comment!

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Lovely post & blog..

catholicandgop said...

Beautiful thoughts on the holy family. Thanks so much.

jmjtina said...

I agree that the Nativity gave me a better glimpse of the hardships, especially what it might have been like for St. Joseph and Mary during the journey.

and it is also the feastday of the Holy Innocents.

phatcatholic said...

You're right, tina. We definitely can't forget about the Holy Innocents, especially considering the current abortion holocaust that plagues us. We need the intercession of the Holy Family now more than ever!

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