The universe and all of creation were created by God with a certain order that maintains harmony and peace. As God gave mankind dominion over his creation, he expected us to maintain the order he established.
In Sirach (3:2-6), we see one aspect of maintaining that order – we are to honor our Father and our Mother. This is such an important part of God’s plan that the promise is given:
“Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; he stores up riches who reveres his mother. Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children, and, when he prays, is heard.
Being obedient to our parents helps us learn to be obedient to God. We read in Colossians (3:15), Paul gives us additional insights into what we must do to keep order. He says,
“Let the peace of Christ control your hearts.”
In Christ, we will find the strength we need to maintain order in our relationships as husbands and wives, parents and children. There is a right way to fulfill our role, whatever it is. And, of course, the reality is, even if we try to faithfully do our part, it doesn’t mean that others will meet our expectations. I’m sure that there are many parents who take their relationships with God seriously, and even though they have made every effort to guide their children in the right way, some have rebelled. Peer pressure is very difficult to overcome. Perhaps it has never been so difficult to raise a child as at this time in history. That’s why it is so important for parents and godparents to follow through with the promises they made during the baptismal ceremony. Do you remember the words? “On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring him (her) up in the practice of the faith. See that the divine life which God gives him (her) is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in his (her) heart.”
Providing children with a solid foundation will give them something to fall back on if they should happen to stray away from the faith for a time as they mature. The most important protection that a child can receive is to learn at the earliest possible moment that he or she is loved by their parents, and they are loved by God who has a plan for their happiness. For their part, they must be encouraged to think of God and pray every day. We know by reading the lives of the saints that some children, as early as four years of age, knew God had a plan for them.
The Gospel of Luke (2:49) has a line that strikes out to me when Jesus said,
“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
We know that Jesus is everywhere, but out of love for us, he remains always in his Father’s house in the tabernacle. At times when we are experiencing trials, we may wonder where Jesus is. Of course, he is as close to us as his name on our lips, but because he knows our need for a tangible encounter he waits for us day, and night in the tabernacle in all the Catholic Churches throughout the world.
God’s Greatest Gift
The greatest gift God has given humanity is Jesus Christ, not only for our redemption but that we might also have an intimate, personal relationship with him through his Eucharistic presence during Mass as well as in the tabernacle. Jesus longs for us to spend time with him so that he can guide and strengthen us with his grace. During this Christmas season, think about consecrating your family to the Holy Family before the tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament chapel.
Our families are God’s plan for the future of the world. The family is intended to be the domestic Church where husband, wife, and children are joined together in prayer and grow together in faith. The family is where vocation should first be discovered.
Even if our family life has not been what it could have, it is not too late to begin anew. Whether you are married, divorced, or single, God has a plan for our happiness that can only be discovered in a relationship with him. People have persevered through the ages by:
- Attending mass every weekend (during the week, if possible)
- Praying daily (privately and with people we love)
- Reading Scriptures
- Frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation and forgiving each other for hurts experienced
- Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament
- Reading the lives of the saints
- Continuing to be formed in the faith
- Being generous with our time, talent, and treasure
This is the true path to happiness and peace.
God has a great plan for each of us if we allow Him to guide us by way of the Scriptures, the Church, the lives of the saints, and His wisdom. It has to begin first of all as a desire in our hearts and continues when we share this desire with others, especially those we love.
A simple prayer you can pray together… Jesus, Mary, and Joseph guide and protect us today. Amen.