A Homemade Holy Family
and Jaime Bernardo, SFO
Chairs, National Family Commission
holiness be obtained within the family? Is
it really possible to call our family a holy family? Or is there only one Holy
Family – the very first family of Nazareth, the family of Jesus, Joseph and
we pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and a host of other prayers with other
members of the family, we learn that holiness is homemade.
Families are called the “little church” or “domestic church”.
We encounter God everywhere and in everyone: “Wherever two or three are
gathered in my name, there I am in their midst”.
When God is the center of our home, each member is respected, loved, and
valued as a person.
also need to have sacred space in order to experience the ordinary holiness that
is present in our home. But we do
not have to build a chapel with four walls.
Sacred space is created by the way we think and behave that tells each
family member that God is the center of this house. Some holy objects like the
crucifix, or statues of Mary, Joseph, and favorite patron saints, serve as
reminders of these models of our faith, and make our home a sacred place.
Today, we lack such a religious sanctuary in our home.
This practice is long gone. A
holy family revitalizes this custom.
see God in the ordinary experiences of life – birth, marriage, work, death.
Can we find meaning in the first cry of a newborn baby, in the crayon marks on
the wall made by a kid, in waiting at the check-out counter, in the preparation
of a meal to be shared by the family? Do
we see God’s hand in all that we do? As
expressed beautifully by Catherine Doherty, “every action performed in the
sight of God because it is the will of God, and in the manner that God wills, is
a prayer and indeed a better prayer than could be made in words at such times”
in a family means learning to forgive others, remembering that we too need
forgiveness. A holy family is not perfect, not trying to measure up to the
standards set by others, but embodying God’s teachings in its everyday
struggles. Holiness in a family
does not mean being free of problems, disorder, or conflict, but being able to
iron out difficulties with faith, and believing that every sin is forgiven.
Every hurt or pain inflicted by another is blotted out by the
intervention of our Lord. It is by weathering the storms of daily life that we
find the rainbows of life. That is
a holy family!