Blessings on this Holy Day! May we all be open to receive the Love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Rejoicing in our blessings, may we remember also our call to “be a blessing” to others. Our family is our first experience of love, but the older we become in nature and grace, the more our choices determine the depth and direction of our love. Even those little loved by human parents, can by God’s Grace yet experience and grow in His Love, and can help others to become perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. (cf Mt. 5:48). In the Trinity is Love for all, and we as Christian families are called to reflect this Love in the world.
“The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father’s work of Creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task.” – The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2205.
How many families today are a “communion of persons” or believe they are created to be a sign and an image of the Holy Trinity’s Communion of Three Divine Persons? Some may remember this truth from the Catechism or from a class or homily they heard, but many other families are broken, hurting, and aching for communion. Sin has destroyed and will continue to destroy familial love, but God so loved the world He sent His Only Begotten Son (Jn 3:16). In Christ, true communion of persons reflecting the Trinity is given, but will we receive Him and help others receive Him?
If by God’s Grace we are determined to know and follow Christ as disciples, daily we can learn from Him how to love truly. We can repent and believe; we can experience the communion we need. We also hear Him tell us to go and make disciples teaching them all that we have heard from Him. But how “determined” are we? How many families take time to know Christ and to follow Him? How many are truly open to life while others defend contraception, abortion, same sex-marriages, and are educating others to do the same? Some fervently partake of prayer and the sacrifice of the Mass, but others find excuses not to come if it’s inconvenient. Fewer still may pray daily and daily read the Word of God and grow strong in charity. God has loved us so much, but how determined are we to love Him in return? How much grace do we squander? What do we value most?
How can the Christian family take up the evangelizing and missionary task it has been given in Baptism and Confirmation when so may of our families are in need of evangelization? The king going to battle against impossible odds in the movie, Lord of the Rings, asked: “How did it come to this?” I believe it has come one venial sin at a time. We have become more and more careless, irreverent, and more and more forgetful of the Lord’s warning: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.“ (Mat 26:41).
Many families do not watch and do not pray, thus they enter temptation and fall. The more we fall, the less our conscience may bother us. The flesh is weak and the spirit becomes weak as well. But if we cooperate with God’s Grace, we will watch and discern the signs of these times. We will pray and we will help our families to pray. Thus helped by word and example, we will not enter into temptation and fall – or if we do fall, we will sincerely repent and begin again. By God’s Grace, our families can become stronger in the Love of God and find true communion of persons. We cannot ever give up in the struggle. We must pray with perseverance, take up our cross daily and follow Him Who has loved us first. Together we need to overcome the culture of death around us by doing the truth lovingly in our families first, and with our families to reach out to others.
Our battle to overcome evil seems impossible to us often, and without God’s Grace it is. But with Him, all things are possible. Let us rejoice that God in His Mercy has given us life this day and His Grace to enter union with Him, growing each day in faith hope and above all charity. The decisive battle of our time is in the family. It is in the home, where the evil one knows it begins for each of us. Let us strive to love one another with His Love. Let us approach each person as one created in His Image and Likeness, no matter how disfigured he/she may appear to us. Jesus excludes no one from His invitation to “ask, seek, knock.” Can we? The Good Shepherd leaves the 99 in search of the one lost. Will we?
What a glorious future awaits the sons and daughters of God who have fought the good fight and finished the race! We see only a reflection of the Trinity here and now, but the Beatific Vision awaits those willing to receive Love and give Love in return.