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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR MISSION OF FAMILY LIFE RENEWAL


December 27, 2009
Feast of the Holy Family

Today’s readings
Sirach 3:2-14
Psalm 128:1-5
Colossians 3:12-21
Luke 2:41-52

Our particular call, charism and mission in CFC-FFL is family life renewal.[1] Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. As we end the calendar year, we go back to and are mindful of our roots, the very foundation for our life and work.

Pope John Paul II says that the future of humanity passes by way of the family. The family is crucial to the well-being of peoples, societies and the world. If we have good family lives, family members will become blessings to the world. Conversely, if families are dysfunctional, they bring that dysfunction in their lives to the world. This is the reason why the evil one has focused tremendously on trying to destroy the family. If he succeeds, then he destroys the world and all of God’s creation.

So far, unfortunately, the evil one is succeeding. What do we see in the world today, that is so contrary to what God teaches?

  • Wives are in rebellion over the headship of their husbands. Many have abandoned their roles as mothers and the heart of the home.
  • Husbands do not love their wives in the way that Christ loves the Church. There is marital infidelity, divorce, separation.
  • Children do not honor, obey and respect their parents. There is rebellion against parental authority.
  • Parents do not adequately care for their children. Some have abandoned their families. Some abuse their own children.

Contrary to all the above, this is what God through the Bible teaches us.

  • The husband is the head of the family and the wife, as his helpmate, is to be subordinate to him (Col 3:18).
  • Husbands are to love their wives (Col 3:19), as Christ loves the Church.
    Children are to obey their parents in everything (Col 3:20).
  • Parents, especially the father as head of the family, are to care for their children, moving them forward in their life in the Lord with guidance and encouragement (Col 3:21).

According to God’s plan for the life of the world, He intended the home and family to be the environments where His disciples would be formed, in preparation for their life in the world. The parents are crucial, in that they stand in the place of God in forming those who are God’s children, entrusted to their care. The role of the couple is crucial, as “a father’s blessing gives a family firm roots, but a mother’s curse uproots the growing plant.” (Sir 3:9). Therefore “the Lord sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.” (Sir 3:2).

As such, children are expected to relate to their parents in specific ways. If they are to fear the Lord, they should honor, be subordinate to and serve their parents (Sir 3:7). As they do so, God’s blessings will come upon them (Sir 3:8), and their actions will have practical consequences on their lives.

  • A child “honors his father” and thus “atones for sins” (Sir 3:3), is “gladdened by children” (Sir 3:5a), and his prayers are heard (Sir 3:5b).
  • A child “reveres his mother” and thus “stores up riches” (Sir 3:4).
  • A child “reveres his father” and thus “will live a long life” (Sir 3:6a).
  • A child “brings comfort to his mother” and in effect “obeys the Lord” (Sir 3:6b).

The family and the home are crucial to a life of abundance in the world. At the core of such family life is reverential fear of God and obedience to His commandments. “Happy are all who fear the Lord, who walk in the ways of God.” (Ps 128:1). Those who fear the Lord will be blessed (Ps 128:4).

What are those blessings?

  • A life-giving spouse. “Like a fruitful vine your wife within your home” (Ps 128:3a).
  • Wonderful children. “Like olive plants your children around your table.” (Ps 128:3b).
  • Fruitful labor. “What your hands provide you will enjoy” (Ps 128:2a).
  • Happiness and prosperity. “you will be happy and prosper” (Ps 128:2b).
  • Blessings throughout a long joyful life and through the generations. “May the Lord bless you from Zion, all the days of your life that you may share Jerusalem’s joy and live to see your children’s children.” (Ps 128:5-6a).

Our model for family life is of course the Holy Family of Nazareth -- Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

  • The whole family was faithful to the law and to the spiritual life (Lk 2:41-42).
  • Jesus was obedient to his parents (Lk 2:51).
  • Joseph and Mary provided a wonderful home environment where Jesus “advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” (Lk 2:52).

With such upbringing and such vibrant family life, we are able to do our mission in the world, living our lives under God and going about the Father’s business. Just like Jesus. “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:49b).

Our life and mission, our work of serving God in the world, are our duty to God and our priority in the Kingdom. Our effectiveness in living out our calling is very much dependent on our upbringing and life in the family and home.

Family and home are not to be prioritized over service to God, or vice versa. On the contrary, we serve God by strengthening our families, and using our families to serve Him in turn.

* * *



[1] CFC-FFL’s most basic mission is evangelization. We are an evangelistic and missionary community. However, the Catholic Church of which we are an integral part has evangelization as her basic mission. Thus we look on that as a given.
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