Holy Family

Holy Family

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Feast of the Presentation--Candlemas Day

Good morning. "When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him" (Luke 2: 22-40). There is no doubt that Mary and Joseph were not people of means as they offered up a pair of turtledoves yet what scripture tells us they were the best of parents. The Gospel from today’s Mass makes clear that they accepted their responsibility of parenting and that they were raising the Christ Child in accordance with Jewish teachings. All of what they were about was in fulfilling the mission of their child—our Savior.

Because of the words of Simeon upon seeing the Christ Child in the temple, "a light to the revelation of the Gentiles" the Feast of the Presentation has come to be known as Candlemas Day and traditionally candles are blessed on this day. Following Terce the priest blesses the candles while the congregation sings Nunc Dimmitis—the words spoken by Simeon upon seeing the Christ Child. The Holy Family serves as a model for all of us for how to best live our married lives and for how to be good Christian parents, which is why the Holy Family is the patron of this blog. The Church has always taught that parents are the primary teachers of the Faith. As parents we are to make our homes, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, a “Family Church.” Our late pontiff, Blessed Pope John Paul II reminds us parents that we are the first teachers in their childrens’ lives and this task continues beyond the early years, this is not to be a task relegated to other significant persons in our children’s lives, and this role of teacher proceeds past the developmental years into their adult years. It is because of this that the Church prescribes as part of the Rite of marriage the question, “Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”

For there to be a sacrament a couple must be open to God’s gift of life and accept the responsibility for their upbringing. Blessed Pope John Paul II continues to note that the family is an organic entity which attaches itself to those who have come before and it continues on with later generations. He further indicates that this is a task which parents share with our Creator: “If it is true that by giving life parents share in God's creative work, it is also true that by raising their children they become sharers in his paternal and at the same time maternal way of teaching. According to Saint Paul, God's fatherhood is the primordial model of all fatherhood and motherhood in the universe (cf. Eph 3:14-15), and of human motherhood and fatherhood in particular.”

The best way we can imitate the Holy Family in our lives is through making Christ the center of our family’s life. Ways of doing this are by praying together as a family and by attending Mass every Sunday. Other ways are through imitating the actions of the Holy Family by simplifying our lives; are the activities away from home taking away from spending time with God and our family? Is there time in our busy lives to just be quiet and still? Are we sharing meals together? How might we make Jesus the center of our lives, a light of revelation for our children? May Christ be our light. Happy Candlemas Day! Make a great day!

Nunc Dimittis by Arvo Pärt
Nunc dimittis servum tuum,
Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace.
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum,
quod parasti ante facies omnium populorum,
lumen ad revelationem gentium
et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.
Now thou dost dismiss thy servant,
O Lord, according to thy word in peace.
Because my eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared
before the face of all peoples,
A light to the revelation of the Gentiles
and glory of your people Israel.

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