The Foundation of Society…No Pressure

“Family is not an important thing.
It’s everything.”

-Michael J. Fox

Full House. Family Matters. The Brady Bunch. Leave It to Beaver. The Cosby Show. The Addams Family. Since the beginnings of television, there have been numerous TV shows that have revolved around the single unit that everyone experiences: family. Not everyone has the same experience of the family, as seen in these TV shows, but we all have a family. Some people have bad relationships with their families, others good. The family is the foundation, the first essential cell of human society. The family is that fundamental building block. It is within the family where a person learns interpersonal relations and connections. When the family begins to decline, a person’s ability to relate with others declines. When the ability to connect with others declines, society will begin to decline. That is why the family is to be protected and cherished: when the family goes, society goes with it.

Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family. Today is a day when we recognize the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Throughout all of history, fallen humanity has provided plenty of examples of what a family shouldn’t be. Domestic abuse, divorce, infidelity, familial conflict. There are so many issues within families. These issues definitely cannot be neglected. However, these are issues inasmuch as they conflict with the perfect model presented by the Holy Family. The Holy Family provides the families of today with a perfect example of what it means to relate with one another as a biological family and as members of the Body of Christ. They lived in perfect charity. Jesus “was obedient to them; and His mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51b). Mutual respect and charity, as seen in the Holy Family, should dictate all relationships, especially those within the family.

However, too often today, people question the love of God the Father based off the Boromir-Dadlack of love given by their earthly father. “My dad never showed me love. And that is just how God the Father would treat me. Why would I want to experience more of that?” However, the earthly father is an image of the Heavenly Father – not the other way around. The Heavenly Father is perfect; we as humans are not. Humans always imperfectly match up to God. It would be an illogical comparison to talk about how one cannot trust God because one cannot trust their own father. Man always seeks to live the life that God calls him to live. For example, the earthly father must strive to mirror the love of the perfect Heavenly Father.

God has called all men to do His will. A fundamental aspect of that lies within the family. However, God does not leave us to figure it out for ourselves. He guides man in this endeavor. Man is called build up society by building up the family. We’re called to grow in compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, humility, forgiveness (cf. Colossians 3:12-13). Families, by providing an example of these virtues, can bring up virtuous children for a virtuous future and a virtuous society. In the readings today, families are given instructions on how to live (cf. Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21). God has spoken to man throughout the centuries, throughout the millennia on his responsibilities as a member of the family. When Christ invited man into His family, invited man to become members of the Body of Christ, man’s responsibility was no longer limited to his biological family. Now, man’s responsibility is extended to the Body of Christ. Man is called to treat all in virtue and love. This feast of the Holy Family calls man to reflect on how he takes up his responsibility to his family: both biological and ecclesial. We are all called to increase in virtue and lead others to increase in virtue. As long as we build up the family, society can remain strong. Once the foundation crumbles, there is nothing left to hold up society. No pressure.

“You don’t choose your family.
They are God’s gift to you,
as you are to them.”

-Desmond Tutu

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Duc In Altum

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