Maura sent me a link to the homily “Holy Familiarity.” She found it when she was searching for an online version of “The Glorification of the Virgin,” a painting Fr. Ferguson mentions in his homily. I love the images of the child Jesus he describes, though. It’s fun and weird at once to think about the child Jesus.
One of my favorite moments from The Passion of the Christ happens when Jesus is carrying the cross through the streets of Jerusalem. He falls for the first time, and Mary sees him from an alley. We then get a flashback to see the child Jesus falling, and Mary rushing over to comfort him. Back in the present, Mary again rushes up to comfort her son. (It’s been over a year and I still remember the movie this vividly.) She behaves like any mother would toward her son, wanting to comfort him and to love him.
I can never quite grasp daily life for the Holy Family, though. Today is the feast of Mary, Mother of God. Mary’s son was also her God. He would never be like other kids. The adult Jesus could read; was he educated like the other non-God children, or did he have complete innate knowledge? Did the child Jesus have friends? What’s it like being friends with God? What does God Incarnate dream about? What kind of language does he use?
Yesterday was the feast of the Holy Family, so our priest gave a wonderful homily on family of his own. He said that the Holy Family is our model for family life, but that most people find that hard. “People say, ‘well, that’s two saints and God!'” That’s true. I think the quality of the Holy Family we should try to model in our lives is their love. The family reflects the Holy Trinity, especially in the three-person Holy Family. Mary and Joseph’s love is poured out upon the child Jesus. The love between men and women is poured out upon their children; since most parents aren’t celibate and don’t have the intervention of the Holy Spirit, their love actually creates the child. The love between the Father and the Son is so strong that it manifests itself as a completely separate being: the Holy Spirit. So, in loving greatly and freely among our families, we imitate the Holy Family.
He also lamented the shift in society. The family used to be the basic unit of society. Now, it’s the city, the political jurisdiction. Thinking about the “basic unit of society” during the homily was weird for me. Since I don’t live at home for most of the year, I’m not quite sure how to define my family. On one hand, my friends here are like a family, but they’ll never be like my mom and dad and the rugrats. On the other hand, I don’t connect with my family the same way I do with my friends. Even if home is just where you keep your stuff, most of my books aren’t here on campus. So, the next shot I have at the Holy Family model is my own husband and children. If I become a religious, then I’ll have yet another alternative family. I guess it depends on how “alternative” I get in the end.
The other point I remember our priest making was about the importance of the Church to family life. In the second reading (Luke 2:41-52), the Presentation in the Temple, we see the Holy Family worshipping together. Likewise, “the family that prays together, stays together.” He encouraged us to always go to Mass together; I looked toward my mom, but she was focused on the ambo. He encouraged us to pray a family Rosary. I prayed with the rugrats this summer, and I led them through grace a few times, but I’ve never tried to organize a family Rosary. We just don’t spend a lot of time all together when we’re not out at the movies or a restaurant. I suppose I could suggest it the next time we’re all driving to Hoffman Center for a movie…I don’t know. I’ve never seen my parents pray outside of church and my dad’s saying grace. I know my dad started reading the Bible last year (a resolution, I think), but I don’t know how that wound up. I feel like a family Rosary is the kind of thing that should be initiated by parents. My parents aren’t bad at all; they’re actually really cool sometimes. What am I supposed to do, though? It’s rare that we all go to Mass together. Where do I begin, other than my own prayers?
Mary, Jesus, and Joseph, help my families—biological, spiritual, and social—to be as loving and holy as yours.