Tag Archive for: Holy Family

A Path to Happiness and Peace

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.

Holy Family, Help Us Be Holy!

Statue of the Holy Family outside the Church of St. Joseph in Nazareth.

We began the last week of Advent with this verse from O Come, O Come Emmanuel:

“O come, O Wisdom from on high, who orders all things mightily; to us the path of knowledge show, and teach us in her ways to go.”

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 yesterday’s first reading, (Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14) 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 . . . when he prays is heard. Being obedient to our parents helps us to learn to be obedient to God.

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.”

Fulfilling Our Role

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 be faithful.  I’m sure that there are many parents here 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.  And maybe there are some children here who have felt called to a religious vocation and have not received support from their parents.

Ordering our life to God is a daily struggle which calls us to perseverance in prayer and the sacramental life.  Our Lord offers us all the grace we need to take one day at a time, and to trust that in the end, everything will be okay if we persevere. It doesn’t mean things will not be difficult; it does mean we will always have hope.

We see in the Gospel of Luke (2:22-40) that the Holy Family faithfully followed the law of Moses. Even though they knew that Jesus was the Messiah that the Jews had been praying for, they didn’t think they should enjoy special privileges. They obeyed immediately and God’s plan continued to unfold, and prophesy was fulfilled when Simeon and Anna saw the baby Jesus in the Temple. Even though they were the holiest, most important family in the history of the world they faithfully followed the religious practices of their time because that is how they maintained their connection with the Heavenly Father and fulfilled His plan. The same is true for us. God wants to make our families holy.

The Crisis of the Family

It is not news that in this country, the most powerful country in the world, the institution of the family is at a point of crisis. Almost every family has experienced some degree of trauma, especially during this pandemic – whether physical, economic, psychological, or spiritual. Almost every family has a relative that is divorced. A statistic states that only one-third of children in this country will live with both biological parents until they reach the age of eighteen. The greatest need of our time is the renewal of the family; the only way it can be renewed is with the help of God’s grace; by being faithful to what God has revealed to us through the Scriptures and the Church, even if others are not.

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 is not been what it could have been, it is not too late to begin anew. Whether you are married, divorced, or single, it is not too late to ask “Wisdom, to teach us in her ways to go.”

The way people have persevered through the ages is 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.
  • Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament.
  • Reading the lives of the saints.
  • Being generous with our time, talent, and treasure.

It is the same plan for everyone for all time.

How Can We Be More Aware of God’s Presence?

The domestic church, like every church, is made up of the people that occupy it. However, there are things we can do to help us be more aware of the presence of God and to help us enter into prayer at home:

  • Every home should have a crucifix and religious art to show that Faith is important to those who live there.
  • There can be a special room or part of a room where you have an altar or shelf on which you place candles, a bible, holy pictures, and favorite prayers that help you enter into prayer.
  • Designate a time when the family prays together, especially the Rosary, or at least part of the Rosary.
  • It is very meaningful for parents to bless their children before bed and before leaving the house by tracing the cross on their foreheads as you say, …may God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

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 as a desire in our hearts and continues when we share this desire with others, especially those we love.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph pray for us. Help us to be holy!


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

St Joseph of Nazareth

On Devotion to St. Joseph (Quamquam Pluries)

“On Devotion to St. Joseph (Quamquam Pluries)” encyclical by Pope Leo XIII

“In Joseph, faith is not separated from action,” said Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. For centuries, the model of St. Joseph has quietly resided in the hearts of Christians. Many popes have called his example out of the quiet, so that we would gain from friendship and devotion to him – towards a stronger faith in Christ.

Pope Leo XIII was one of these popes. His encyclical demonstrates why St. Joseph is so special, and why we should look to him for prayerful help, protection and guidance in following the Lord. At the end of the encyclical, he also mentions a special prayer to St. Joseph that we should especially include during our Rosaries for the month of October:

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

Perhaps your parish office would print a copy for you in exchange for a small donation, as well.

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