How do you Define “Family”?

Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family by FAN Board Member, Br. Paul Crawford, OFM, Cap.

This reflection was originally posted in our December 24th newsletter


Large groupThe choices in various readings for this week’s Feast of the Holy Family really reflect the reality of how different we view and judge a family according to our own culture, experience and upbringing as well as the pressure society puts upon a family.

There really is a struggle here in our own country of what is a family traditionally, and culturally and there are many sides and many pushes to define what is normal and what is not. But in spite of various disagreements and arguments on defining this, there is one common factor, which is that a child is an important part of the family. Caring for one another is an important foundation of the family and in this we can all find common ground, cause, and need of improvement.

Anyone who has raised children knows that discipline and order are required, the more difficult issues come in the living out of family life. What is the proper discipline and order is always an concern and a place for discussion and change. I have to come clean here and say I have never raised a child.

But to be honest, I always thought my family was imperfect especially in light of families I saw on TV. It has only been since I have worked as a Social Worker that I’ve come to realize, in-spite of my family’s imperfections, life was good, and my parents really did the best that they could do.

These are important and necessary questions for family, a life is often a work in progress, and at times messy, sometimes painful, through often times wonderful and the source of comfort.

What is important is to recognize that families are families throughout time, usually not perfect, and prone to daily distractions, sometimes friction, but sometimes embracing and a place to find support. Richard Rohr says it so well, foundations are built to have friction which in fact keeps the building secure.

What is also important to remember and to even acknowledge is that every child, even the adult children who now serve as parents, are all children of God, whose existence relies upon God and not simply their human parents.

This week’s Feast Day should remind us that the Holy Family was not so different than ours. Jesus lived with a mother and an adopted father and caused both to become fearful when Jesus disappeared and was found in the Temple. “Child, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” Jesus answered, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

So, let us all put aside our checklists, judgements, and criticism of our family upbringing or of other families and accept and get on with our lives.

For we are all children of God, longing for our true home.

Br. Paul Crawford, OFM Cap.
FAN Board Member

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Published in: on December 25, 2018 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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