THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her Doctrine and Morals

The Holy Family

8 January 2017

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Dear Friend,

This season is filled with wonder and awe. What amazement there is in simply contemplating the fact that God lowered Himself and became one with us. Not only, did He humble Himself by becoming man, but He became even the humblest of men. He was born the poorest of the poor and was given a manger for His bed.

The wonder of the miracle of God's birth among men has opened up to us a treasure trove of things to admire. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mother — the only example of its kind in all of human history. Mary is ever virgin. She became the mother of Jesus without suffering the loss of her virginity. She is the chosen virgin dedicated to God. In the book of the Apocalypse, we see the virgins follow the Lamb. In today's gospel, we see that the Lamb follows the virgin, Mary — His mother. As we ponder with amazement the fact of a virgin becoming a mother without the loss of her virginity, we are filled with greater awe by the fact that her Son is the Christ child — God Himself.

His holy Virgin Mother is able to command her Son and He obeys. Her dignity is therefore very great; and His humility without comparison. God obeys and submits to a woman; and a woman is given power and authority over God.

No family is complete here upon earth without a father. What an honor and privilege was given to St. Joseph to be the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the foster father of Jesus Christ. He won the love, respect, and obedience of the Mother of God; and was entrusted by God with His Only begotten Son. In His humanity, Jesus grew in wisdom before men. It was given to St. Joseph, the task of instructing, guiding and protecting God. In this noblest of positions, it is said that, St. Joseph became the disciple or student of Jesus. The father instructed the Son in the things of this world; but the Son instructed the father in the things of God. We wonder, how many times did St. Joseph stop and reflect on all that had been given to him.

It was St. Joseph's duty to guard and protect the virginity as well as the honor of the Mother of God. He was also given the task of protecting, feeding, clothing, and sheltering Jesus (God made Man). In all these things, we know that he was faithful and true and now enjoys an eternal reward in Heaven next to Jesus and Mary.

In our prayers we often find that it is easier to approach God through His mother, rather than directly appeal to Him. Because of our sins, we are unworthy to even approach Him, much less be bold enough to ask for favors. In the Blessed Mother, we find a mediatrix who can present our requests in a most worthy and acceptable manner to God. There are times when we are unable to approach Mary directly, in these times, it is to St. Joseph that we appeal. What we see on earth is as the mirror image of what is in Heaven. On earth St. Joseph held the highest position of authority and power and Jesus held the least, with Mary in between. In Heaven, Jesus holds the highest position and St. Joseph the least, again, with Mary in the middle. Yet, to our great astonishment and joy, we find that even in Heaven, Jesus submits to the will of Mary, and Mary submits to the will of St. Joseph. We find in all these things a most beautiful and amazing example of order and harmony.

It is this harmony that we are called upon to imitate in our own lives and families. Fathers in imitation of St. Joseph are to be humble and hardworking seeking to provide all that is necessary for his wife and children. Mothers in imitation of the Virgin Mother, are to be ever meek and modest — true mediatrixes between the father and his children — with authority over the children, yet in complete obedience to her husband. Though mothers cannot remain virgins, they are called upon to strive for the modesty and reserve of the virgins. In Jesus Christ, we are all to find our standard and guide. We are all children and we are all called upon to follow Him. The chief aspects of His life that He would have us learn and imitate are meekness and humility. "Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart." (St. Matthew 11, 29)

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, let us strive to imitate them. Imitation is the greatest honor that we have to give. May we all strive to imitate the Christ Child in humility, meekness and obedience, because we are all children. May women and girls seek to imitate Mary who is both virgin and mother. May all men turn to St. Joseph and imitate his earnestness and zeal to humbly provide for and lead his loved ones in the name of God.

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