"To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others" (Bl. Pope John Paul II)
Today is Family Day, a holiday recognized by three provinces in Canada. Beyond receiving an extra day of Sabbath, today is a day for us to acknowledge the importance and role of family in our lives. Exceeding beyond our very own homes and families I feel called today to pause, reflect, and pray for families everywhere. I have read many things written by our Blessed Pope John Paul II and am always deeply moved by his writings on the role of family. He defintiely stressed the importance of the family being a healthy place of faith, love, and joy. Unfortunately today's society seems to have lost much of this focus. There is little emphasis on family and unity and much more attention paid to the building up of individuals, leading to the destruction of family . Maintaining a sense of unity and love within a family is crucial. The way this can be made possible is by having a strong focus on God and faith. Some of the most loving and unified families around me are those who attend Mass together and share in family prayer times. As schedules differ and commitments build there may be a loss of much quality time amongst family members. Often it seems that even sharing family meals is difficult. We must recognize the need for us to prioritize our lives and not lose sight of what/who is truly important. Bl. PJP II reminds us that to maintain a joyful family requires us to become a servant to one another, proving that the family setting is a perfect opportunity for us to live out our Catholic faith. We must respond to the way we are called to live by God, and carry that with us into our dealings with our family members. This idea of being a "servant"of the other can carry multiple meanings. At times we may simply have to fulfill household chores, and other moments we may be called to sacrifice comforts, time, and space in order to better accomodate our family members. In some of lifes more intense moments we are called to wipe tears, hold hands at hospital bedsides, and be of great comfort when it is needed. When families resemble the design that God intended for our lives there is nothing else like it in the world. There is nothing more important than time spent together, than the selfless exhange of love, than the making of memories that live on long after the Lord calls us home. No matter what our family life may look like we must hold tightly to our Lord and pray for His guidance to help us create the joy within our families that He wills us to have. Lord, Today I pray for families everywhere. May every person be able to experience love, joy, and peace within their family atmosphere. Lord provide a feeling of family for those who feel alone and unloved, may Your warmth and care surround them each and everyday. I pray tonight that families everywhere recognize the need for Jesus within their lives. Holy Family interceed for us within our own homes, may we strive to serve one another each day with sacrifice. Bless those who are far away from their families and missing them each day. Lord care for our Priests and those in religious order may they constantly feel a part of each family that they serve. May every family be open to life, understanding the importance of serving the Lord through the gift of children. Provide us with the strength to love selflessly, the will to forgive, and a heart that longs to be like the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Amen. (C.C)
Happy Family Day to all!