A little way forward: Weekly Message for 02-01-2022

Dear Friends in Christ,

February 2 is the feast of the Presentation, a poignant moment in the Gospels when the Holy Family is portrayed as fulfilling a precept of the Law.

Mary and Joseph bring the Baby Jesus to the temple for an act of consecration and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24) – the offering made by the poor.

Even amid material poverty, the Holy Family was rich beyond imagining, having the Son of God in their midst. Their good fortune is a reminder of the richness that radiates from loving families into the wider world.

In an age of falling marriage rates and birth rates and growing loneliness, any hope for a happy future requires a recovery of respect and support for families. 

Indeed, “The future of humanity passes by way of the family,” wrote Pope St. John Paul II. Institutions and countries and empires come and go, but the family remains.

The family, not the individual, was long considered the basic unit of society. After all, who among us is truly self-sufficient?

Who among us changed our own diapers and fed and educated ourselves as kids? Who among us grows our own food, makes our own clothing, produces our own medicine, and builds our own cars?

The good news is that it’s OK to be dependent on others. Our needing others and their needing us is a part of what it means to be human.

In the case of families (and wider circles), the glue that holds people together is love. For a refresher on this virtue, you might find it helpful to pray with our Retreat Guide “Love One Another.”

Its use of St. Thérèse’s “little way” can help us move forward in a world that needs to recapture its esteem for families.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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