Bulletin – January 2017
“So the faith was planted: so must it be restored”
Eight Pond Place – Oyster Bay, NY 11771
The Holy Family – Our Example
Taken from a sermon by The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
Copyright © 2003 The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
…..The Feast of the Holy Family is the Feast of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The ultimate origin of the Feast is the common life they shared at Bethlehem, in Egypt, and at Nazareth. It was a common life characterized by a happiness most remarkable. It was not a life without its sorrows. Yet, its joys were sublime.
…..At the center of that life was Christ, about Whom everything revolved. The Son of God loved His human Mother and His foster father, St. Joseph. For Him, it was a delight to dwell with them. From all eternity He longed to be with them. As a little Child He longed to be held and loved by them.
…..St. Louis de Montfort says: “The bond of friendship between Eternal Wisdom and man is so close as to be incomprehensible. WISDOM IS FOR MAN, AND MAN IS FOR WISDOM. ‘He is an infinite treasure to man,’ and not to the Angels nor to any other creature. . . . The longings of this eternal and supremely lovable Beauty for the friendship of man are . . . intense.” Now if that is true as regards us, and it is, what must be the bond of friendship and love between Jesus Christ and His Mother and St. Joseph? What must have been the happiness of the family life they shared on earth, and what must be their happiness now in Heaven?
…..The life of the Holy Family was such that the angels in Heaven, who had the Beatific Vision, were yet filled with wonder and admiration at the sight of it. The very same angels who had heard Lucifer cry at the beginning of time, “I will not serve,” and who had refused to follow him, saw the Son of God in the midst of the Holy Family, having taken upon Himself a human nature and the form of a servant. They saw the Creator of the universe occupied with menial tasks, and they were struck with awe. The angels marveled at the sight of the Son of God made Man living in submission to an earthly Mother and a foster father. This humble submission of God to His creatures is beautifully expressed by St. Luke in the words: “And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.” (Luke 2) He, the Son of God, was subject to them, His Mother and His foster father.
…..St. Alphonsus Liguori was so profoundly impressed by what filled the angels with wonder that he wrote these words about Our Lord’s life at Nazareth: “Now he goes to fetch [the] water; then he opens or shuts the shop; now he sweeps the room; now he collects the shavings [of wood] for the fire; now he labors in assisting Joseph at his trade. O wonder! To see a God sweeping! A God serving as a boy! O thought that ought to make us . . . burn with holy love for our Redeemer, who has reduced himself to such humiliations in order to gain our love! Let us adore all these servile actions of Jesus,” St. Alphonsus says, “which were all divine. Let us adore, above all, the hidden and neglected life that Jesus Christ led in the house of Nazareth!”…..Thus we see, my dear people, that the Feast of the Holy Family is rooted in the Gospel, which tells us of Our Lord, Our Lady, and St. Joseph, and takes its meaning from the life they lived together. But the actual institution of the Feast comes from the time of the North American Martyrs. Between 1642 and 1649 St. Isaac Jogues, St. John de Brebeuf, and their companions laid down their lives for the Faith. A few years later, in 1663, the Association of the Holy Family was established at Montreal, Canada by their fellow Jesuits. From Montreal the devotion spread throughout the world. It is interesting to note that in this case a new devotion spread from the new world to the old world – the first fruits of the blood of martyrs.…..In 1893 Pope Leo XIII approved the Feast under the title of the Feast of the Holy Family. Pope Benedict XV inserted the Feast in the Universal Calendar of the Church. Since 1921 the Feast of the Holy Family has been celebrated on the Sunday after the Epiphany.
…..In our time, it is a feast of paramount importance. Never before, since the coming of Christ, has the world been in greater need of the example of the Holy Family. Never before, in the Western World, has the family been under such intense attack. Never before has it been so endangered. The family unit is the essential unit of society. Society is built on it. It determines what society will be. Destroy the basic unit and you destroy the whole. Destroy the cells of his body and you kill a man. Destroy the family and you kill civilized and Christian society.
…..Behold the result. It is all about us. The family is being destroyed today. It is being destroyed by the three great evils that strike at its heart – abortion, contraception, and divorce. From these evils others flow, even as these other evils are, in a certain sense and in a certain measure, the cause of the first three. They support and reinforce each other, as it were. The other evils are prevailing impurity, flourishing infidelity, and widespread perversion. All three of these permeate our society today. The American people are fed a constant diet of filth in movies, on the internet and T.V., in music, newspapers and magazines, and in the example of many of our leaders.
…..The effects can also be seen in the immorality of the people. Never before has America been so indifferent to such things. Never before have contraception, abortion, infidelity, perversion, impurity, and divorce been so widespread. Never before have people been so insensitive to evil. Fifty years ago a man could not be elected President if he were divorced and remarried. Now it is not even a consideration.
…..The dulling of the conscience is the ruination of souls. These things that we behold about us are the work of the devil. He encourages them because by them he leads so many souls into Hell. They are the fruit of the demon’s work. They embody the spirit of the prince of this world. They manifest the same spirit of disobedience and defiance that moved Lucifer to rebel against God. Yet, more and more this is the spirit that rules in our nation. It is the spirit of the modern world. It is the spirit of the merchants of death and the murderers of their own children.
…..Thank God that we know better. Thank God that we do better. Thank God that we have the example of the Holy Family to guide and inspire us. We must take that example and strive to pattern family life upon it. Follow the example of the Son of God submitting Himself to His creatures in obedience. Follow the example of Our Lady and St. Joseph who lived every moment of their lives together, loving Christ and making Him the center of their home. Conform your married lives to the laws of God, and you will be at peace.
…..Remember that among the basic mutual duties of husband and wife, the first is that husband and wife must love and help each other. Thus, husbands must strive to treat their wives with kindness for the sake of Our Lord. They must strive never to let a demeaning or unkind word toward their spouse pass their lips. Yet, should such a thing ever happen, they must repair the damage done as soon as possible. They must be considerate, gentle, and affectionate. Similarly, wives must do the same. They must strive to treat their husbands with respect and honor for the sake of Our Lord, Our Lady, and St. Joseph. They must be compassionate, honest, humble, and considerate, as well. And children must be obedient and reverential.
…..Be kind to each other. If you want to be loved – love. Love is the loadstone, St. Alphonsus says, of love. He means it is a kind of magnet. Those who love are loved. That is why Our Lord went to such extremes for us. He knew that if He demonstrated His great love for us, we would love Him.
…..Strive, therefore, to fulfill the duties of your state in life. Receive the sacraments regularly and faithfully. Keep yourselves unspotted from the world, and you will have happiness and peace in this life and eternal happiness in the next.