Instructions Not Included

Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family by Janine Walsh, FAN Communications Coordinator.
This reflection was originally posted in our December 22nd newsletter.
In reflecting on this week’s Gospel, I am reminded of the first time I became a mother. The nervousness over every little detail of this new human life that I was responsible for overwhelmed me at times. I wanted an instruction book. It was a wonder I ever managed to change the child’s diaper. Then, after about two or three days, I settled down. I began to rearrange my thinking, accepting the responsibility and devoting all of my energy to this new life. I began to feel like a mother.


This week we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We join the young parents bringing their brand new baby boy to the Temple to offer him to the Lord. When they enter and are confronted by Simeon, I wonder what was going through Mary’s mind. This man must have seemed so strange, taking the baby and blessing God, predicting his own death as well as so much of Jesus’ influence on the world. All this fuss over a babe of only a few weeks old? The passage says Mary and Joseph were “amazed at what was said about him.” I wonder if that word does justice to their feelings. What would have been my reaction to the revelation that my child would be “destined for the fall and rise of many” and “a sign to be contradicted”? I thought I was nervous; Mary must have been beside herself.


As I meditate more on the Holy Family, I find their strength to be awe inspiring. To know from the moment of conception that your child is the Lord must have taken unfailing strength of trust in God. I could not have handled it. I imagine the predictions of Simeon caused hours of contemplation on Joseph and Mary’s part. I would have wanted to figure out what Jesus was to do, then as any mother would, how I could help Him accomplish those goals. Prior knowledge must have seemed at times a heavy burden.


I take from this Gospel the solid faith that I can appeal to the Holy Family for any intention and my prayers will be heard. I can count on Mary to intercede on my behalf and understand my life and anxieties as a mother. I can ask her to be with me during all the hard times and when I do, my heart will be settled. It’s almost like having a spiritual instruction book to guide me through raising my children.


What an awesome Christmas gift to receive year after year!

Janine Walsh
FAN Communications Coordinator

Published in: on December 23, 2014 at 11:09 am  Leave a Comment  

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