Feast of the Holy Family

“In Nazareth the concrete relationship between the Christian and God is created.  From there all Christians, particularly all the saints, draw the measure of their relationship to God.  The Son as God, Mary as the Immaculate Conception, and Joseph as Saint, participate as much in the grace of heaven as they do in earthly realities.  They could, if they wanted to, live as if in heaven while still here below.  But their mission puts them on earth, and only with great discretion do they make use of their heavenly life.  They themselves give earth the preponderance.  For the mission wills it so.  Therefore they do not live in Nazareth simply a life of pleasure and joy in one another.  They live there already for the Christians to come, for us.  The house at Nazareth is no closed house, nor a closed paradise; it has doors and windows that open out into the Church.  From this we ourselves learn first to order our lives behind closed doors and windows, until we, too, open them and place ourselves at the Church’s disposal.” 

[Excerpt from:  “Handmaid of the Lord”, by Adrienne von Speyr]  


7 thoughts on “Feast of the Holy Family

  1. There’s a sort of natural spiritual progression….first we open our eyes and ears and hearts to the Word, then we open our doors and windows to the Church of which we form a part and there is an inter- mingling, like the drop of water into the chalice?
    Adrienne von Speyr is on my list, Gabrielle.
    What examples we have in the Holy Family.

  2. Gabrielle,

    I want to tell you how inspiring you are to so very many people. I don’t always comment and I know I should. There are moments when these reflections touch my heart and bring me to a deeper understanding of the heavenly family. Thank you!

    I pray that you will have a healthy and prosperous New Year too.

  3. Marie Cecile, thank you very much. I know, many times people here and elsewhere just want to read and reflect, no commentary formulating in their minds, and I’m the same way sometimes. That’s okay! I pray you and your family will have a blessed 2008 as well.

    Ann, I understand what von Speyr is saying about Mary, Joseph and Jesus immersing themselves in their earthly mission – just as Jesus was incarnated in order to fully experience our human existence, Mary and Joseph, although truly human creatures, didn’t “use” all their heavenly possibilities, probably, in order to have a better human existence but to fully live as a regular family. I think the “natural spiritual progression” you comment on is what she’s saying near the end. The question that formulated in my own mind was, if our lives aren’t as “ordered” behind closed doors as we would hope (individually, or as a family) should that stop us from being open to being of service for the Church?

  4. God can work wonders with us just as we are – and does – and so I’d say rather than wait a very long time to be perfect which of course we’re never going to be, we should go out there, place our imperfect selves where we, through the grace of God, either individually or as families, can be of service to the Church.
    ‘ Here I am, Lord, It is I, Lord….’

    And the very best wishes and blessings for both your blogs in ’08,
    Gabrielle…and of course for your family too.

  5. It’s when we know we are all but helpless to help that He says, “Oh, really? Watch.” And in rushes the Holy Spirit to do the thing.. I’m always amazed. All He needs is whatever isn’t “no”. I’ve done about everything in two parishes that one woman can do, including a 3 yr stint on the pastoral council, social events chair, Evangelization team, RCIA, Relig. ed., newsletter, offices, well, you name it. I always say, “ME?? Oh, get serious!” The only offer/need I ever turned down was for the Liturgy Committee years ago; I told Fr. J that I wasn’t ready for that.

    But the sweetest events of all are the one-to-one moments that no one but He could possibly anticipate. Like today. That’s another comment, perhaps. But I was never ready for anything asked or any need noted, or so I thought. He doesn’t need “ready” and He doesn’t need a resounding, “YeeHAA! Sure! Yes” –really, all He needs is whatever isn’t a “No.” We are, I’m convinced, filled with yesses galore; the Holy Spirit will equip.

    Interesting, tho’.. I had not thought of the Holy Family having access to Heavenly helps. Well, duh. Could I be more thick?

    🙂 Ahhhh, food for thought today..

  6. 🙂 And Ann has indeed mentioned the key phrase “place ourselves”.. That was the hardest thing to learn — that God refuses no one’s help in loving. Absolutely no one. But my first knowledge of that came from a tiny Teutonic religious ed director who knew beyond a doubt that if you showed up to inquire about what is involved in teaching the faith, then you had “Sent by Holy Spirit” stamped all over you, from the incredulous eyeballs on down. If we but show up.. the Holy Spirit does the rest.

    Our parish was at an utter standstill for many years once, and there seemed no budging it. (Most particularly due to our staid Pastor.) Really, even in the first council meeting to which I sat, I managed to make an enormous gaffe of thankful joy for the week-long Mission someone else had brought us, saying it was exactly what we’d been needing. D’oh! How little I realized what a gaffe, ’til a longtime member apologized, “Oh, with all due respect, Fr., it really was wonderful.” Ah, no wonder the priest who nominated me had gasped, lol, but when 60 parishioners (from his adult relig. ed series’ meetings) get tired of others limping along and get the courage to get fired up again, oh man, love goes like a wildfire! It was like watching a sped-up video of a garden bursting into bloom. Boom, boom, boom — our parish was suddenly quite vibrant, and it even pleased the staid priest, eventually–he had something pretty exciting to report to his Bishop. The strangest people can make the biggest difference, even with that which is a terrified question, but isn’t a “no”.

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