Quote/s of the Day – 31 December – Feast of the Holy Family and the Seventh Day of the Octave
“God, to whom angels submit themselves and who principalities and powers obey, was subject to Mary; and not only to Mary but Joseph also for Mary’s sake [….]. God obeyed a human creature; this is humility without precedent. A human creature commands God; it is sublime beyond measure.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux – (1090-1153) – Doctor of the Church
“What was family life in Nazareth like? In the home of the Holy Family in Nazareth, Jesus, Mary and Joseph sanctified their ordinary life, without doing anything spectacular or newsworthy. They led a life that was to all appearances, the same as that of their neighbours, a life that was important, not because of the material things they did but because of the love that they put into these things, in perfect union with the Will of God the Father.”
“Marriage is to help married people
sanctify themselves and others.
For this reason they receive
a special grace in the sacrament
which Jesus Christ instituted.
Those who are called
to the married state,
will, with the grace of God,
find within their state
everything they need to be holy.“
St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975) (Christ is Passing By – no 22)
One Minute Reflection – 31 December – Feast of the Holy Family and the Seventh Day of the Octave
Certainly sons are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them. He will never be shamed.…Psalm 127:3-5
REFLECTION – “How important it is, therefore, that every child coming into the world be welcomed by the warmth of a family! External comforts do not matter, Jesus was born in a stable and had a manger as His first cradle but the love of Mary and of Joseph made Him feel the tenderness and beauty of being loved. Children need this, the love of their father and mother. It is this that gives them security and, as they grow, enables them to discover the meaning of life. The Holy Family of Nazareth went through many trials …. Yet, trusting in divine Providence, they found their stability and guaranteed Jesus a serene childhood and a sound upbringing.”…Pope Benedict XVI (Feast of the Holy Family 2010)
PRAYER – Holy Father, trusting in the motherly intercession of Mary Most Holy, Queen of Families and under the powerful protection of St Joseph, her spouse, grant we pray, that we may dedicate ourselves tirelessly to this beautiful mission which You have placed in our hands, as mothers and fathers of Your children. Strengthen us to protect and guide them in Your ways. Through the prayers of our Holy Mother and the Guardian of Your divine Son and of His Church, in union with Jesus Christ our Lord and the Holy Spirit, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 31 December – Feast of the Holy Family and the Seventh Day of the Octave
Prayer for the Family By St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
from You every family in Heaven
and on earth takes its name.
Father, You are love and life.
Through Your Son, Jesus Christ, born of woman
and through the Holy Spirit,
the fountain of divine charity,
grant that every family on earth may become,
for each successive generation
a true shrine of life and love.
Grant that Your grace,
may guide the thoughts and actions
of husbands and wives
for the good of their families
and of all the families in the world.
Grant that the young may find in the family
solid support for their human dignity
and for their growth in truth and love.
Grant that love,
strengthened by the grace
of the sacrament of marriage,
may prove mightier than all the weaknesses
and trials through which our families sometimes pass.
Through the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that the Church may fruitfully carry out
her worldwide mission in the family
and through the family.
We ask this of You,
Who is life, truth and love
with the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
31 December – Feast of the Holy Family and the Seventh Day of the Octave
The Holy Family is the name given to the family unit of Jesus: The Divine Son of God Jesus, His mother the Virgin Mary and His foster-father Joseph. We know very little about the life of the Holy Family through the canonical Gospels. They speak of the early years of the Holy Family, including the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, and the finding of Jesus in the temple. Various non-canonical works, including the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, try to fill in the blanks. However, even though these apocryphal works may contain some truth derived from oral tradition, they have been deemed unworthy of canonical status because of the way they present Jesus. While the exact details of the day-to-day life of the Holy Family may be unknown, we can still learn a lot from the stories we do have.
As far back as St John Chrysostom (347-407) , Christians were urged to make of their home a family church in which the family members would find their sanctification. That was to be accomplished by putting Christ at the center of all individual and family life, by working and praying together, reading the Scriptures and worshiping as a unit. The cult of the Holy Family grew in popularity in the 17th century and several religious congregations have been founded under this title. The Holy Family also became portrayed in popular art of the period. On 26 October 1921 the Congregation of Rites (under Pope Benedict XV) inserted the Feast of the Holy Family into the Latin Rite general calendar. Until then it had been celebrated regionally. Popes before and including Benedict XV (especially Leo XIII) promoted the feast as a way to counter the breakdown of the family unit. Today the Church celebrates the Feast on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day (Known as the Feast of Mary Mother of God in the Catholic Church). If both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Sundays, no Sunday exists between the two dates, so the Church celebrates the Holy Family Feast on 30 December.
The Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph
The devotion to the Holy Family was born in Bethlehem, together with the Baby Jesus. The shepherds went to adore the Child and, at the same time, they gave honour to His family. Later, in a similar way, the three wise men came from the East to adore and give honour to the newborn King with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that would be safeguarded by His family.
We can go further to affirm that in a certain sense Christ, Himself, was the first devotee of His family. He showed His devotion to His mother and foster father by submitting Himself, with infinite humility, to the duty of filial obedience towards them. This is what St Bernard of Clairvaux said in this regard, ‘God, to whom angels submit themselves and who principalities and powers obey, was subject to Mary; and not only to Mary but Joseph also for Mary’s sake [….]. God obeyed a human creature; this is humility without precedent. A human creature commands God; it is sublime beyond measure.’ (First Homily on the ‘Missus Est’).
Today’s celebration demonstrates Christ’s humility and obedience with respect to the fourth commandment, whilst also highlighting the loving care that His parents exercised in His keeping. The servant of God, St Pope John Paul II, in 1989, entitled his Apostolic Exhortation, ‘Redemptoris Custos’ (Guardian of the Redeemer) which was dedicated to the person and the mission of Saint Joseph in the life of Christ and of the Church. After exactly a century, he resumed the teaching of Pope Leo XIII, for who Saint Joseph ‘.. shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men’ (Encyclical Quamquam Pluries n. 3). Pope Leo XIII continued, ‘.. Joseph became the guardian, the administrator and the legal defender of the divine house whose chief he was.[…] It is, then, natural and worthy that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.’ Not many years before, blessed Pope Pius IX had proclaimed Saint Joseph, ‘Patron of the Catholic Church’ (1870)
Almost intuitively, one can recognise that the mysterious, exemplary, guardianship enacted by Joseph was conducted firstly, in a yet more intimate way, by Mary. Consequently, the liturgical feast of the Holy Family speaks to us of the fond and loving care that we must render to the Body of Christ. We can understand this in a mystical sense, as guardians of the Church and also in the Eucharistic sense. Mary and Joseph took great care of Jesus’ physical body. Following their example, we can and must take great care of His Mystical Body, the Church and the Eucharist which He has entrusted to us. If Mary was, in some way, ‘thefirst tabernacle in history’ (St John Paul Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 55) then we, the Tabernacle, in which Our Lord chose to reside in person, in His Real Presence, was also entrusted to us.
We can learn from Mary and Joseph! What would they ever have overlooked in the care of Jesus’ physical body? Is there something, therefore, that we can withhold for the right and adoring care of His Eucharistic Body? No amount of attention, no sane act of love and adoring respect will ever be too much! On the contrary, our adoration and respect will always be inferior to the great gift that comes to us in the Holy Eucharist.
Looking at the Holy Family, we see the love, the protection and the diligent care that they gave to the Redeemer. We can not fail to feel uneasiness, perhaps a shameful thought, for the times in which we have not rendered the appropriate care and attention to the Blessed Eucharist. We can only ask for forgiveness and do penance for all the sacrilegious acts and the lack of respect that are committed in front of the Blessed Eucharist. We can only ask the Lord, through the intersession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, for a greater love for their Son Incarnate, who has decided to remain here on earth with us every day until the end of time. (From the Congregation for the Clergy.)
The Holy Family (or the first Sunday after Christmas)
St Pope Sylvester I (Optional Memorial)
Bl Alan de Solminihac
St Anton Zogaj
St Barbatian of Ravenna
St Columba of Sens
Bl Dominic de Cubells
St Festus of Valencia
St Gelasius of Palestine
Bl Giuseppina Nicoli
St Hermes the Exorcist
St John Francis Regis
St Marius Aventicus
St Melania the Younger
St Offa of Benevento
Bl Peter of Subiaco
St Potentian of Sens
St Sabinian of Sens
St Theophylact of Ohrid
Bl Walembert of Cambrai
Bl Wisinto of Kremsmünster
St Zoticus of Constantinople
Martyrs of Catania – 10 saints: A group of early Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only other information to survive are ten of their names – Attalus, Cornelius, Fabian, Flos, Minervinus, Pontian, Quintian, Sextus, Simplician and Stephen. They were martyred in Catania, Sicily, Italy.
Martyrs of Rome – 10 saints: A group of Roman women martyred in an early persecution, date unknown. We known the names of ten of them – Dominanda, Donata, Hilaria, Nominanda, Paolina, Paulina, Rogata, Rustica, Saturnina and Serotina.
Their relics were enshrined in the catacombs of Via Salaria, Rome, Italy.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Leandro Gómez Gil
• Blessed Luis Vidaurrázaga González
Our Morning Offering – 30 December – The Feast of the Holy Family and the Sixth Day of the Christmas Octave
Prayer to the Holy Family By Pope Francis from Amoris Laetitia
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love;
to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again experience
violence, rejection and division;
may all who have been hurt or scandalised
find ready comfort and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness
and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Graciously hear our prayer.
Apologies folks, no new posts today except this morning prayer – the posts for the Holy Family for last year are here https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/
One Minute Reflection – 17 December – The Memorial of St Josep Manyanet (1833-1901)
“The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”…John 14: 26
REFLECTION – “From the beginning, the Holy Spirit has brought forth men and women who have remembered and spread the truth revealed by Jesus. One of these was St Josep Manyanet, a true apostle of the family. Inspired by the school of Nazareth, he carried out his plan of personal sanctity and heroically devoted himself to the mission that the Spirit entrusted to him. He founded two religious congregations. A visible symbol of his apostolic zeal is also the temple of the Holy Family of Barcelona…St John Paul at the Canonisation Mass, 16 May 2004
PRAYER – Holy God, we pray for all families, most especially our fellow Catholic families, that they may live as their model – the Holy Family of Nazareth. May St Josep Manyanet bless all families and help them follow the example of the Holy Family in their homes! Grant this we pray, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.