ESTACIO: Cling onto the Holy Family

February 9, 2021

More times than I would like, my nightly family prayer looks more chaotic than peaceful. On any given night, it may include arguments, fighting, and some sort of yelling.

Families are not perfect; many young people today come from homes without a traditional family structure. We do not have to look far to see the breakdown of the family unit within the last few decades. The rising divorce rate, which has been close to 50% for a very long time, alone reveals to us there is a major problem.

As Catholics, we have hope in the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He became like one of us in all things except sin, to conquer and be victorious over sin and death so that we can become more like Him. The darkness of the world — even in the continued pandemonium of 2020 — is nothing compared to the Light of the World. Thus, we can look at the darkness of the family and home and not be afraid because God has given us the Holy Family as a model and guide to holiness. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us within a family. The second person of the Most Holy Trinity became like one of us, and like us, spent a vast majority of His life at home with His family.

This was no mere accident, but it was undeniably part of God’s plan of salvation.

Many homes today, mine included, have not been spared from the breakdown of the family. Comparing our experience with the Holy Family can, at first glance, seem incompatible with our own lives. Mary was born without sin, while Joseph is the greatest saint to ever live after his wife. Last but not least, Jesus Christ was fully man and fully divine. How can we compare with them?

We can look at sacred Scripture and see that the life of the Holy Family was not too different than ours. They had their fair share of hardships, which included the Christ Child being born in a place for animals or fleeing to Egypt to avoid the Christ Child from being murdered, just to name a few.

Mother Church is very clear on the importance and beauty of the family in God’s plan of salvation:

“Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the Holy Family of Joseph and Mary… In our time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith… Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous – even repeated – forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life.”
(CCC 1655-1657)

The Holy Family is so important we celebrate their feast day annually on Dec. 27 during the Octave of Christmas. Traditionally, the Catholic Church dedicated the month of February for the Holy Family. In 2021, we need the intercession of the Holy Family more than ever. For a variety of many reasons, the pandemic has brought much tension to many families.

We are called to cling to Jesus Christ during times of suffering, hardships and difficulties. During this month, cling not only to Him but to St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As we continue to wait for this pandemic to end, the time together can be a great opportunity to come together as a family to ensure Jesus Christ is the center, foundation and priority of our homes.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

Ways to cling onto the Holy Family during the month of February:

• PRAY as family. The family that prays together stays together.
• Find a time and a place that works best for your family to pray for 15 to 20 minutes every day.
Option 1: Recite the Rosary
Option 2: Read the Gospel for Sunday Mass, have some quiet time, and discuss it as a family. Make sure this is a time where all cell phones are nowhere to be found or heard.
EAT as a family. The family that eats together stays together. Make, sit down, and clean dinner up together. Use this time to really look at and listen to each other.
- Starter question for dinner: “What brought you joy today?”
PLAY as a family. The family that
plays together stays together.
- Make a puzzle. Play a board or video game together. Go outside, laugh and be with each other. The most important thing is to spend time together.

Dunn Estacio is an associate director with the Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.