A couple Sunday’s age the Church celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family and most of us heard homilies about how we are to emulate in our families the model of the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. So how do you ensure holiness for your family? It’s not easy in the modern world to live out a call to holiness. Traditional families must battle the secular media, Hollywood, and just about everyone else in their efforts towards holiness. Remembering this acronym – F.A.M.I.L.Y. – will help keep you on the right track and remind you of what’s truly important.
F stands for FAITH. Families must strengthen their faith. Every Catholic home should have a Bible and a copy of the Catechism. At the very least families should attend Sunday Mass as well as all Holy Days of Obligation. Monthly Confession should be a regular practice. There are also many CDs, TV programs (try EWTN), radio stations (The Catholic Channel on Sirius/XM radio) that will help to strengthen family faith.
A is for APOSTOLIC. All Catholics are called to evangelize others. One great way to do this is to teach CCD or perhaps an adult Bible study at your parish. Saint John Paul II suggested that dads evangelize dads, moms evangelize moms, and children evangelize children. This can be as simple as ensuring that all of your actions, your thoughts and words are worthy of the Christ. Be a shining example of your faith to others.
M is for MARY. Entrust and consecrate your family to the heart of the Holy Family who is Mary. She is our spiritual mother. Begin a family practice of saying the Rosary together on a daily basis. There are special rosary beads for children that can help them learn this beautiful prayer. Pray together as a family on a regular basis, before meals, bedtime, in the morning. The divorce rate in the United States averages 1 in 2 marriages. But … for couples that pray together the divorce rate plummets to 1 in 10,000!! That should be reason alone to pray together.
I stands for IMITATE. All family members should imitate the Holy Family. Dads should imitate Joseph. They should be the spiritual leaders of their family. Moms should imitate Mary and her tenderness and compassion and love. Children should imitate Jesus who always honored and respected his parents.
L is for LOVE. Families should be havens of love in the midst of the world and its struggles and troubles. They should be accepting of all their members and never be places of criticism, condemnation or complaining. Family members should find not only love, but acceptance and kindness from one another.
Y is for the YEAR 2015. Let 2015 be a year of grace for your family. Begin the year well by being sure to attend Mass on January 1st, a Holy Day of Obligation (in most US Dioceses) celebrating Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Consecrate your family to Mary. Make sure you have an image of Mary as well as an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus displayed prominently in your home.
Hopefully these tips and the easy to remember acronym … F.A.M.I.L.Y. … will have you and your family off to a good start for holiness in the new year.