Your Holy Family
The purpose of this article is to provide some guidance, encouragement, and practical advice on how to live out the Gospel within your family. The Gospel message is consistent and can be applied not only to individual lives, but to family life as well. Our families should reflect the love of God in our fallen world.This may sound like an unattainable goal but it isn’t, the Gospels tell us with God, all things are possible. So saddle up your horse, hitch up your wagon, load up your family and join us for the ride of a lifetime. We all start from different places (spiritually speaking), but our goal is the same, eternity in Heaven in communion with our God and we accomplish this by leading our own holy families with prudence, justice, fortitude and most of all love.
Raising Missionaries, Martyrs and Saints
I used to travel by air quite a bit for business and before each flight the attendant always reminded me and my fellow passengers that in the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead compartment. If this happens, we must immediately put on our own mask and the flow of life saving oxygen will begin. If we are seated next to a child (or someone else who may need our assistance), we are to place our mask on first, then assist the child with their mask. The purpose of this instruction, given before each flight, is that in order to help those that may not be able to help themselves, we need to be equipped to do the job required and without oxygen ourselves, that might not be possible and it could result in both the adult and the child not being able to perform the task necessary to receive oxygen.
Our spiritual life is no different, in order for us to assist our children, we must first equip ourselves with the breath of life, who is Jesus, and once we are breathing freely, only then are we able to effectively lead our children in the development of their own spiritual life. The choice to follow Christ is one that must be made by the individual. There is no such thing as a family choosing Christ, each person has free will and in that free will they can choose to be a disciple or not. So the first step in this journey to a Holy Family is for each parent to choose to follow Jesus and be the best Christian they can be. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who guides his flock in the ways of righteousness, you are the shepherds of your family, it is only by knowing and following the Good Shepherd that you can hope to create an environment of holiness within your domestic Church.
We put on our Christian oxygen masks when we learn about our faith and establish a relationship with Christ and his Church. The core message of the Gospel (according to Pope Paul VI in his encyclical “Evangelization in the Modern World”) is that God Loves you, there is sin and it has consequences, Jesus (true God and true man) is our Savior, so repent and receive the Holy Spirit. After you have heard and accepted this good news, the most appropriate response is to make Jesus the Lord of your life. This may sound simpler than it really is, but with prayer and fortitude you can begin to reorient your way of life and put Jesus at the center. Making Jesus the Lord of your life is a lifelong task and will require frequent adjustments as the Holy Spirit leads you in this work.
Living your life with Jesus as your Lord requires you to surrender all aspects of your life to Him, and make all important decisions under his rule and by doing this you are getting much closer to observing the first commandment perfectly. By your own power this goal is unachievable, but with God, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, all things are possible.
As St. Francis is reported to have said, “Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words”. Our children are always watching us, how we treat our spouses, how we act when working and how we interact with those around us. A moral action performed in front of our children will have more of an impact than 3 hours of lecture about the same moral decision. Strive for personal holiness, lead by example, then you will be well on your way to raising missionaries, martyrs and saints for the kingdom of God.
About the Author:Allen Hébert is a Senior Solutions Engineer in the Information Technology Industry. Allen and his wife Denae, have been married for over 31 years and they have been blessed with nine children. Allen enjoys swimming, driving the family RV and the great outdoors.