By MARY KAYE FALCONY
CONNECTING FAITH AND LIFE
“If you want peace in the world, go home and love your family” (Mother Teresa).
These words greeted me recently as I entered the Saint Meinrad gift shop. I have to admit that I have always longed to have this beautiful piece of art hanging in my home somewhere. It reminds me of an old proverb that I came across in my youth that spoke to the influence a harmonious family has on the community and nation, and the world.
The proverb, as well as Mother Teresa’s words, point to the great attention that must be payed to family life and the importance that lies in creating a home that nurtures each individual – yet, at the same time, cultivates a harmonious existence for all who reside there.
There is some speculation as to whether the exact words in the quote above were truly spoken by Mother Teresa. Most would agree that the sentiment of this statement was communicated by her in some form. One thing for sure is that the truth it holds is undisputable – love changes things!
As we enter this Advent season and spend time in contemplation on the story that unfolded over 2,000 years ago – and the story that is unfolding once again in our own lives – it is hard to deny that how we love makes a difference!
“God so loved the world that he sent His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
The sacrifice by the Father and His Son has changed our world forever. For me to be loved in this way is sometimes unfathomable. But I remember how I was loved by my parents, and I can see glimpses of His love.
I think this is what God intended – for all of us to live in the presence of individuals who show us what sacrificial love looks like and extend to us a love without condition. This is the example that was set before us.
As a parent, I often recognize how far I fall short. Maybe there are others who, as they read this, feel as I do. To keep the Gospels in front of you and walk the path of virtue is no small thing.
There are no perfect parents or families; but I think there is consolation in knowing that, if we follow the model of the Holy Family, strive to remain faithful to our God and love well in spite of the struggles and challenges of family life, we may achieve through his grace families that exemplify his love in the world.
Let us pray for our holy families:
“Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary, bless our family. Graciously inspire in us the unity, peace, and mutual love that you found in your own family in the little town of Nazareth.
“Mary, Mother of Jesus and Our Mother, nourish our family with your faith and your love. Keep us close to your Son, Jesus, in all our sorrows and joys.
“Joseph, Foster-father to Jesus, guardian and spouse of Mary, keep our family safe from harm. Help us in all times of discouragement or anxiety.
“Holy Family of Nazareth, make our family one with you. Help us to be instruments of peace. Grant that love, strengthened by grace, may prove mightier than all the weakness and trails through which our families sometimes pass. May we always have God at the center of our hearts and homes until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with you. Amen” (Prayer from Missionaries of The Holy Family).
Editor’s note: Mary Kaye is retiring from the Diocese of Evansville Office of Catechesis. This is her final contribution to “Connecting Faith and Life.” We are truly grateful for all she has done for the diocese, the Office of Catechesis and The Message.