In my prior post on families, I quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that a family is a covenant by which a man leaves his family and takes a wife, in which they become one, and their purpose is to procreate the world. The Catechism goes on to say that the family is a “domestic church.” Specifically, it states
1656 In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica.168 It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.”1691657 It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way “by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.”170 Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.”171 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.
These two quotes pack a large amount of information in them, and they go back a long time, even before the Catechism of the Council of Trent was published. The church truly believes that the family is, first and foremost, the place of education and learning, one of nurturing, one of the witness of the love that Christ gave for his bride, his family- The Church.
The family has been a generally protected institution until modern times. This is seen all throughout history, especially in the Medieval Era. Throughout the High Middle Ages, one saw the family getting the respect that they deserved, even if they happened to be very different practices than we today are used to. The families of old were very oriented towards protecting themselves, which is the opposite of what we see today. Yes, they were worried that the name might not continue or that money might be lost. Heck, most of the time love wasn’t even the main concern.
Today, we see many different attacks on the family from all different parts of society. It is no longer considered the sacred institution that it once was, no longer understood as a domestic church whose sole purpose is to protect the children. Chances are, these days, that one runs into someone trying to redefine what marriage is, and, by proxy, the family. To protect the family, marriage must be protected as a Sacred Institution between one man and one woman. The state MUST stop interfering in families, and must respect Right of the Religious Institutions to protect the family, especially since the State is dead set on destroying it.
I would like to end this post with two things. The first is a quote on the Holy Family from Father Z. He says, on the Holy Family, that,
God Incarnate chose to begin manifesting this sacrificial love, which reached its culmination on the Cross, in the family home.
Together with Mary and His earthly father Joseph, Christ began to reveal something of the unity of love within the most perfect of communions, the Holy Trinity.
It is fitting to celebrate the Holy Family within the Octave of Christmas when we contemplate the coming of the Lord in imitation of that final, perfect communion with God to be enjoyed only by the blessed in heaven.
The family is a paradigm of all other human relationships. The Holy Family teaches us, who are still in this world but moving inexorably toward our judgment and final goal, how to live – together – in this present state of “already, but not yet”.
The second is the Collect for the Feast of the Holy Family.
O God, who were pleased to give us
the shining example of the Holy Family,
graciously grant that we may imitate them
in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity,
and so, in the joy of your house,
delight one day in eternal rewards. Amen
(Editio Typica Tertia, ICEL 2010)
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Ora pro Nobis
St. Joseph, the Most Chaste Spouse, Ora pro Nobis
St. Anne, Ora pro Nobis
St. Joachim, Ora pro Nobis
Just a short aside: As you may know, the Department for Health and Human Services gave Religious Institutions one year to comply with regulations that violate their consciences. Regulations that force religious institutions to demean families, and, specifically women, by forcing them to provide free birth control, and eventually, abortion, to these women who deserve much better. Please take 5 minutes to sign this petition to rescind the HHS mandate. Every signature counts.