Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25TH Lk. 21.12-19 “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
- “Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.” St. Teresa of Avila
- Today we will give thanks for God’s Gift of Family and beg for perseverance in becoming a Family Fortified and Faithful and by this give witness to Christ’s presence in the world.
FAMILIES FORTIFIED AND FAITHFUL by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
It is the basic cell of society; it is the oldest and one of the most important institutions; it is the Domestic-Church; it is the society and community in which children enter the world and are formed and trained to be citizens of this world and the world to come— yes, this is the HUMAN FAMILY!
The health, wholesomeness, and duration of the society as a whole depends on the moral and spiritual state and quality of the family. Time and history have proven with catastrophic, disastrous and undeniable facts the following: when the family disintegrates and comes unraveled, the whole society crumbles and evaporates. The Greek and Roman civilizations, as well as other great Empires that dominated the world declined, withered, and died due to the decline of the moral quality of the family.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses with great clarity, transparency and depth what the true nature of the family must aspire to. It is an ideal that all families should strive to attain with their own strenuous effort, but especially by relying on the super-abundant grace of God. No doubt, God’s grace overflows in abundance, but it is incumbent upon us to open our hearts to receive this free gift. The Catechism of the Catholic Church comments on the indispensable and primary importance of the family for the child, their development, the formation of their character, as well as their insertion into the fabric of society.
“The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which the husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships with the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within the society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2207)
Now let us present the TEN-M’S to aid and motivate us to strive to form noble and holy families in imitation of the best of all human families—Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph—the Holy Family of Nazareth.
THE TEN M’S TO BUILD NOBLE AND HOLY FAMILIES by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
1. MORNING PRAYER. Every member of the human family has incalculable importance, dignity and destiny. So from the youngest to the oldest, the day should start with prayer. What prayer? Highly to be recommended would be the Morning-offering in which we start the day by giving all we do, all we are, all we have, and even all of our intentions to Jesus through Mary. Then end the prayer by kissing your Scapular—this is your eternal sign of consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a sign that you are in Mary’s family and you belong to her as her beloved son/daughter.
Morning-offering Prayer: Mary, my Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you, and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart , my whole being without reserve. Whereas I am your own, dear Mother, keep me and guard me as your property and possession. Amen
2. MEDITATION ON THE WORD OF GOD. Never allow a day to pass in which you have not spent some time immersing yourself in the infinite abyss of the treasures and riches of the Word of God. The Gospel presents the Virgin Mary as an example. Twice in the Gospel of Luke, Mary is portrayed as the model contemplative: Mary pondered the word of God. If you like, here is a short method for meditating on the Word of God: Eyes, mind, heart, and feet. In concrete: read carefully the Word of God and assimilate it in your mind and heart; then go from your mind and heart to your feet—like Mary put it into practice. Allow the Word of God to transform your life and the lives of your family members!
3. MEAL-TIME: FAMILY TIME!!! One of the most common stock-phrases or clichés is the following: “I don’t have time or I’m too busy!” Misnomers as these two short phrases are, unfortunately, they dominate far and wide the modern culture. Meal-time on a daily basis should be the high-point or apex of family time. Meals should begin with a prayer of blessing, and then time to eat and time to share. Everybody at the meal-table has great importance. Every person should learn two key arts that come with practice: learn how to communicate clearly and humbly what is in your heart. Then learn the art of listening to others attentively and non-judgmentally. How many suicides or attempted suicides could have been avoided and still can be avoided—especially among the teens—if they could open up their hearts and express themselves freely at the family table. Topics? Anything that is honest, pure, enlightening, edifying, spiritual, religious, and never forget: humorous! Everybody should have an arsenal of good jokes! I invite all of you to listen to the Cat in the Cradle, Harry Chapin. Get your handkerchiefs ready because it is a tear-jerker! However, it is a splice of reality of the American culture over the last fifty years. Fathers do not have time for their kids and this is perpetuated from one generation to the next. Homes are being transformed into mere-hotels. Families live together today as if they were strangers; as the poet expresses, like ships passing in the night.
4. MATRIMONY: MARRIED IN THE CHURCH. Due to a deluge of materialism, secularism and hedonism in society, the modern generation of young people have taken it upon themselves to set up living arrangements in which they live together, at least apparently as husband and wife, but having never been married sacramentally. The terminology is vast: cohabitation, free-union, trial marriage, waiting to see if they are compatible, have chemistry, etc. Call it whatever you like, but until the man and woman, husband and wife have been married in the Catholic Church in a Sacramental marriage, they are not married in the eyes of God. And despite the most noble intellectual qualities, sports prowess, exterior beauty, wit and charm, material prosperity, this union will eventually fall-apart. Why? For the simple reason that this union is built on sand, not on the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Rock, the bastion and fortress in defense of the Marital Commitment. Ven. Archbishop Fulton Sheen penned a spiritual masterpiece in this regard for couples who marry with the title: “It Takes Three to Get Married.” The three are the husband and wife, with the hidden but most important of the trio—Jesus Christ, who unites the couple in permanent, faithful, and indissoluble love. Now more than ever Pastors, catechists, spiritual mentors, and good Catholic writers should promote the primordial importance of receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony so as to establish a solid rock foundation on which to build holy and happy families!
5. MASS: GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD. The most noble gesture that a human person can carry out on this side of eternity is to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass fully, actively, and consciously and to receive with faith, fervor, and love the most Holy Eucharist—the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus the Lord. Related to the topic of the family, what an enormous deluge of graces would shower from heaven on the family, if family members went to Mass together, received Holy Communion together, and offered their Holy Communions for the purpose of augmenting love among the family members. Upon receiving Holy Communion, we have truly received a Spiritual Heart transplant and the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus beats in our heart and overflows on our family members! Why not live out the Our Father with a sacramental interpretation: “Give us this day our daily bread… the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus!!!”
6. MERCY, MERCY, MERCY! Truly the family can be and should be a school of virtue. That is to say, a place where the many domestic, social, theological and moral virtues can be practiced and on a daily-basis. Among the most noble of all virtues is that of mercy. In the Diary of St Faustina Jesus emphasizes mercy as the greatest of all the virtues in His Sacred Heart. What then is mercy? Quite simply, mercy is the love of God forgiving the sinner. However, in this Divine-human relationship, for us to receive God’s mercy, we must practice mercy by giving it to others. There is no better place in the world to practice mercy, love and forgiveness then in the context of the family. On a daily basis family members hurt us and we hurt them. The key to the problem is this: once offended, forgive right away and have the humility to ask for forgiveness. Remember Jesus’ words: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful”… “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
7. MIRTH: OVERFLOWING JOY IN THE FAMILY.According to the expert in the Art of Spiritual Discernment, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the state of desolation often is an open door to powerful and insistent temptations, capitulating, and then cascading into sin. Of course one of the manifestations of desolation is a sad and depressed spirit. Rewind the film of your life and you will find that many times your sins were preceded by a general sadness of being. To recompense for that sadness, you had recourse to some sin, your kryptonite, your basic weakness. Afterwards, your conscience reproached you until finally you returned to God through prayer, penance and Confession. On the other hand, joy, happiness, jubilation, a truly happy spirit is a strong bastion to ward off the devil of sadness and prevent slipping into the mire of sin. Moms and Dads should be happy. They should radiate their joy with a smile. They should learn the art of encouragement—words that edify, lift up, sustain, and motivate. Children who experience an exuberant and overflowing joy from their parents will not desire to seek refuge in drink, porn, drugs, or gang activity—which are all cop-outs, lies and false-gods presented by the devil as a haven or refuge. Let us learn to live out these words in the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4)
8. MORTIFICATION. If we run away from our cross, most likely, we will run into a cross that is heavier than the one God designed in His Divine Providence to send us. One of the conditions for following Jesus the Lord is the willingness to carry the cross that He has sent us. Resounding and powerful are the words of the Master: “Unless he denies himself, takes up his cross, and follows me, he cannot be my disciple.” (Mt. 10:38) To fortify families, the cross +++ must be present. It can be a cross living with difficult people. But above and beyond demanding and challenging social conditions, we should all make an effort to practice mortification, to practice self-denial, to learn to say NO to ourselves so that we can say YES to God. To be patient with the tardy, to hold back an unkind word when tempted, to take the last seat and the smaller portion at meals, to smile when you are assaulted with a splitting migraine—all of these are concrete manifestations of practicing self-denial and mortification. In other words, mortification is the antithesis of egotism which corrodes family harmony!
9. MISSIONARY. The last words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew were nothing less than a missionary mandate, an imperious obligation for all Christians, all serious followers of Christ, to share the Good News of salvation far and wide, in fact, to the four corners of the world. The words of the Savior are serious and as such we should take them to heart and live them out: “Go out to all nations and teach them what I taught you; baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And behold, I am with you always even until the end of the world. (Mt. 28: 19-20) Families that have discovered the love of Christ should be overflowing with enthusiasm to share the love of Christ with other families where maybe the love of Christ has dried up and extinguished, or perhaps, where the love of Christ never existed. Aquinas points out that when we share some material commodity we are poorer after giving it away. But not so in the spiritual realm! By sharing Christ with others, those who receive the Good News are enriched, but those who have shared it are all the more enriched for having shared it! The first Encyclical of Pope Francis was precisely this message: The Joy of sharing the Gospel. Why not on a monthly basis, bring families together to pray the Rosary, share spiritual insights, and then share a happy-meal together. This might be a tool that families can utilize to implement the missionary call of the family!
10. MARY: OUR LIFE, OUR SWEETNESS AND OUR HOPE. Our essay would be far from complete if we did not conclude by encouraging all families to cultivate a tender, filial, and loving devotion to Mary. As prayed in the Hail Holy Queen, Mary is “our life, our sweetness, and our hope.” On their Wedding Day, the couple lays their bouquet of roses at the feet of Mary, expressing by this gesture their consecration to her. Families should enthrone the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in their homes. St. Pope John Paul II in his inspired and practical writing Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary, strongly exhorts the whole world, but especially families, to pray the Rosary for two intentions: for world peace and for the protection of the family. The Rosary priest, Ven. Father Patrick Peyton has coined these two immortal sayings related to the urgency in praying the Rosary: “The family that prays together stays together”; and, “A world at prayer is a world at peace.” If this tender, filial, and loving devotion to Mary exists in the family, then positive fruits will eventually take root in the family: love, purity, respect for self and respect for others, peace, harmony, patience and joy. Mary was the perfect wife and the perfect Mother. She can help married women to strive for ever greater perfection in their duties as both wives and mothers and do it with courage, joy, and perseverance.
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA