April 12, 2024

Throughout the summer in The Bishop’s Bulletin, we have focused on the genius of God in creating femininity, masculinity and their complementarity to each other. God’s beautiful creation of each as male and female, and the inherent complementarity and interdependence upon each other for healthy, happy and holy family life, reflect what is true, good and beautiful in God’s design and intent.

This month, our feature story will focus on the family, why it is fundamental to our faith, and how our culture works against healthy family life.

When God the Father chose to send his son Jesus to earth through the Incarnation, he chose to do it in the context of a human family with Mary, his mother, and Joseph. This is no coincidence or happenstance, rather it is a manifestation of God’s perfect plan for human flourishing through the marital commitment of Mary and Joseph, lived in interdependence of each other and Jesus. Mary, as Jesus’ mother with her uniquely feminine qualities, and Joseph, with his uniquely masculine qualities, lived healthy interrelations and interdependence as the Holy Family.

Each member of the Holy Family contributed to healthy complementarity, interdependence, selflessness, charitableness and flourishing of each other, their domestic family, extended family, neighbors, the common good of society and their faith community.

For example, Mary tended to the domestic needs of the home and family as she tended to day-to-day tasks as mother and spouse. Joseph’s role included protecting the family from harm (Lk 2:13-15), providing sustenance for the family as a carpenter and as teacher of Jesus of the domestic trade of carpentry, manliness and fatherhood.

One of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity” says, “This mission—to be the first and vital cell of society—the family has received from God. It will fulfill this mission if it appears as the domestic sanctuary of the Church by reason of the mutual affection of its members and the prayer that they offer to God in common, if the whole family makes itself a part of the liturgical worship of the Church, and if it provides active hospitality and promotes justice and other good works for the service of all the brethren in need” (11).

While none of our families is perfect, we should always strive to live and love as the Holy Family did to the best of our abilities and circumstances. All the while, we should also strive to support those in difficult family situations through our prayer, outreach and fraternal charity to help everyone on the way to heaven.

May God bless all members of our families, and may we do all we can to protect, promote and preserve the dignity and rights of family life and its members.