This weekend my church celebrated the Holy Family. It is my wife's favorite mass of the year. It is a very personal theme for us, and gives us as a role model family to look up to.
This statue sits outside our church, and on the cold rainy we saw today it reminded me of their challenging life together.
Here we have a man and woman, given the mission of raising Christ. They are displaced from home during the pregnancy, chased into exile by a homicidal king killing every male child from Bethlehem, go into Egypt a country alien to them with nothing but their clothes and talents, and finally they lose their child in the temple together. They fought hunger, exposure, heat and other men to survive. Any way you chalk it up, this family faced hardship, toil and challenges matched by the most unfortunate in this world past and present.
Through all these challenges, and the madness of trying to keep their family alive, they still found time to listen for the direction God sends each of us for these adventures. The most prolific messages came from angels, but I often wonder how many were just whispers in the wind of the desert or the guidance of old proverbs.
Our pastor today at mass reminded us, the last words we hear attributed directly to Mary are at the wedding in Cana. There she instructs the servants to do whatever her son directs them to do. This in a manner was the culmination of the Holy Family's stewardship of the Son of God. The love of Joseph and Mary ensured the people of the world have the word of God no longer confined to angels and prophets. We actually have it now available to us in the first person. The words of Christ in the bible direct our hearts and actions on the way to communion with the Father because of their faith. It is the Holy Family's eternal gift to our past, present and future.
So this year, I challenge myself and anyone else out there to 1) Read the words of Christ and 2) Meditate on those words. Just then maybe out hearts will hear the whispers of wisdom directing you through life's challenges in the fashion Jesus directs.
Who knows...we just may find ourselves following the footsteps of the Holy Family!
P.S. The inspiration to write this came from the image of the stature I saw at church, and the many friends and family of mine of know of in crisis. Please pray for them and all those you know of in need as well.