Tuesday 29th November 2022

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A Beacon Of Light… The Family Is A Great Gift From God

November 22, 2022 Frontpage No Comments


(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn.)

  • + + One of the greatest gifts the Lord has bestowed upon us is the gift of the family. The family is an essential part of God’s plan of creation. It is here that future generations are formed, and the plan of creation is maintained.
    There does exist a problem, however, regarding the dignity of the family. In today’s society there is a problem that exists when the dignity of the family is under attack. This attack occurs from all sides and continues the deterioration of the gift that the family is to society. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering for forty years this country has had a total disregard for life, as seen through the horrific staggering number of abortions. Is there a solution to the problem of the destruction of the family? Yes, and the solution can be found in the example of the Holy Family as expressed in a quick review of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
    Whenever we meditate on the mysteries of the rosary, we journey through the life of Christ. The joyful mysteries, however, focus on the journey with the Holy Family. Today’s world needs a shining example of good family life. This is so evident that the Knights of Columbus have begun a pilgrimage with the icon of St. Joseph. St. Joseph is considered the protector of family life, so the Knights of Columbus seek the intercession of St. Joseph for the renewal of the dignity of the family. The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary allow us to walk with the Holy Family and find the help necessary in today’s struggle of family life.
    The first joyful mystery invites us to celebrate the Annunciation through the yeses of Mary and Joseph to the Lord. As Mary was going about her business, living her simple life, the Angel Gabriel appeared with a message from God. Mary was asked to participate in the formation of the Holy Family. This required a response from Mary, and from Joseph too. It required a “yes” and trust in the Lord. Like Mary and Joseph, today’s families must say “yes” to the Lord and accept the responsibility they have received.
    This means husbands and wives must always be willing to follow the example of Blessed Mary and Joseph and trust what the Lord asks of them. Sometimes the request may seem unbearable, and we might not understand the message, but if Christ is always part of the family anything is possible. Mary and Joseph never thought they would be the parents of the living God, but they accepted the responsibility with all the love and trust needed. Today, men and women, husbands, and wives, must be open to whatever the Lord asks them to endure. It is not always easy but with Mary and Joseph as our guide, we too can say yes to the Lord.
    The second joyful mystery takes us to the moment in the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth during the Visitation. Elizabeth is found to be with child, that is, John the Baptist, and as the greeting of Mary reaches her ears the infant “leapt for joy.”
    The Visitation invites us to experience joy in family life. And yet, there is such a lack of joy in the family today. This is difficult, considering there is no more joy in the world. Every day we hear about war, violence, and the many injustices against family life. The family is being attacked from all sides. Whether it be from the attempts to destroy the dignity of marriage, or by subverting it to whatever one wants, it’s because families have forgotten to pray together and support each other. Whatever the issue is, we have to make families joyful again. We must break the bonds of division that threaten the joyfulness of family life. In our families we must leap for joy.
    The third joyful mystery invites us to Bethlehem as we celebrate the birth of Christ. The birth of a child is the most visible sign of the love that exists between a man and a woman, and husband and wife. Here we see the nucleus of family life as it is intended by God. Have you ever witnessed the birth of a child? The moment you hear the first cry is such a joyful moment. It is a reminder of the cry of Christ coming into the world to give us everlasting life. I’m reminded of the times I worked in the maternity unit as the hospital chaplain and was able to witness the moments of new life. Those moments of new life put everything into prospective, allowing us to see life as a gift from God.
    Today, however, we find ourselves still fighting the battle to recognize the dignity of the child in the womb. The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade is a sure sign that we are moving in the right direction. There is still much to be done, but if we remember to celebrate the birth of children with the same joy as that celebrated in Bethlehem, then we can win the battle and restore dignity to the gift of children in the womb.
    The fourth mystery is an invitation of thanksgiving to God for the gift of new life. By joining Mary and Joseph in the Presentation in the Temple, we see how their faith was central to how they lived their lives. As was the Jewish custom, Mary and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem to fulfill the law by presenting Jesus in the Temple.
    Entering the Temple, they were met by Simeon who had been waiting for a long time for this day. He longed to see Jesus and experience this day, and now he could go in peace. Like Mary and Joseph, parents also experience the joy of thanksgiving as they see the hope of eternal life shine on their children. For them, this hope is manifested in the Sacrament of Baptism which they offer to their children.
    The Baptism of a child, or of an adult for that matter, is a participation in the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. In Baptism we present ourselves as an acceptable offering in thanksgiving for the gift of our faith. We become members of the “divine family” of God. Here we receive the foundation needed to live our Christian lives. As Simeon rejoiced at the presence of Jesus in the Temple, so too we must rejoice in the presence of children in the family.

Families Should Look To Jesus

The fifth joyful mystery is an invitation to keep our eyes on Christ and to always look for Him. This mystery, the Finding of Jesus in the Temple, encourages us to look for Jesus in the struggles of family life.
In today’s families there are so many obstacles. With the rise in divorce, there is such division in family life. Parents and children can find themselves on opposite sides where it becomes difficult to resolve differences. This often leads to children being used as pawns, to play them off each spouse.
Not to mention the disturbing transgender issues that are being forced upon the family. This causes lifelong damage to family life that can take years for recovery. In the end, where do we find the strength to deal with all of this? We look to the place where Jesus is and find Him in the Temple.
We need to support the dignity of the family and renew the importance of true family life. One way we can do this is by meditating on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary to see how we are doing in living out the responsibility we have in family life.
Through the intercession of the Holy Family, may all families be renewed in the love of Christ Jesus!

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