Faith, family and the future: Weekly email for 01-02-2024

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today is the feast day of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzen.

If Hollywood ever converted and wanted to produce a movie about an idyllic Catholic duo, it might consider these fourth-century Doctors of the Church. Boyhood friends from Asia Minor, they came from families that were studded with saints.

Basil founded a monastery and went on to become a bishop. He later ordained Gregory to the priesthood.

Both were brilliant scholars and helped the Church articulate the mystery of Jesus’ being fully human and fully divine. Their work finds an echo in the Nicene Creed that we recite at Mass.

It’s easy to imagine that their holy relatives — their parents are saints, for instance — helped provide the fertile ground for Basil’s and Gregory’s solid formations in the faith.

This didn’t happen in a tranquil age of Christianity; it was an era rattled by the heresy of Arianism, which basically denied Jesus’ divinity.

The synergy of Basil and Gregory (with divine help) gave an intellectual and spiritual boost that enabled the Church to face the Arian challenge with vigor.

Perhaps it will be saintly families again that produce the leaders the Church needs to help it navigate the stormy seas of modernity. Pope John Paul II used to say that the future of the world and of the Church passes through the family.

So, if you want to help the Church, help a family — your own, your in-laws’, your neighbor’s. Loving families will fuel the future.

It might help to focus on the example of Jesus’ own family, and precisely his Mother and her role in his life. Praying our Retreat Guide on the rosary, River of Wisdom, might be a good start.

And it’s a fine way to begin the new year.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC


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