Feast of the Holy Family (December 31, 2017)

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. We tend to forget that the First Family of the Christian Church had their trials too, as St. Francis de Sales notes:

We are often upset because things don’t succeed the way we want them to. What we desire was not found even in the family of our Lord. Think of the difficulties and changes, joys and sorrow found in the Holy Family. Mary received news that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit a Son, our Lord and Savior. What joy this was for her! Shortly afterward Joseph, seeing that she was with child and knowing that it was not by him, was plunged into distress! Mary was in grief, seeing her dear Joseph was about to leave her. When this storm passed, they experienced great joy. There was also joy in their hearts when the shepherds and Magi came.

However, a little later, the angel of the Lord said to Joseph in a dream, “Take the child and His mother and flee into Egypt.” Without doubt Mary and Joseph were troubled by this command. But was Joseph’s response: “Why do I have to go at night? Couldn’t this journey wait till the morning? I have neither horse nor money.” If we had been in Joseph’s place, would we not have made a thousand excuses? Whereas he promptly did all that the angel commanded. The peace and serenity of mind of Mary and Joseph shows their constant openness to do God’s will amid all the unexpected events that befell them.

We too, when we meet similar problems in our lives, must repeat over and over again to ourselves, so as the better to impress the truth on our minds, that no disturbance of events must ever carry away our hearts and minds into unevenness of temper. Like the Holy Family, God will guide us on our way no matter how difficult it may be.

(Adapted from St. Francis de Sales, Serenity of Heart: Bearing the Troubles of This Life, Sophia Press)