Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Holy Family: Jesus Mary, and Joseph—11 January AD 2014

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Latin and English
Holy Family - Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Dominica infra Octavam Epiphaniæ - Sanctæ Familiæ
Readings from today's Divine Office (including Pope Leo XIII)
Consecration of our Family to the Holy Family

“Put on … a heart of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, …
put on charity, which is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts….”[1]

    This feast of the Holy Family goes back to 1892, when the saintly Pope Leo XIII issued the Apostolic Letter Neminem fugit,[2]  calling on Catholics to consecrate their families to the Holy Family of Jesus. Mary, and Joseph.  The feast was extended to the entire Church a few decades later by Pope Benedict XV.

    Catholic Family life—the essential building block of Christian civilization—had been under attack for a few centuries.  Ever since the “The Peace of Westphalia,” a series of treaties signed in 1648, ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, the countries of Europe became more and more secular.

    Before the Protestant Reformation, most Europeans were Catholics, and the Church was able to safeguard the Sacrament and the institution of marriage.  But after Westphalia, governments began to usurp the rights of the Church, administering marriages, granting divorces, and secularizing the education of children.

    By the mid-1700s, the Industrial Revolution was attracting families away from the countryside, and while it improved the general standard of living, it often meant that families lived in cramped quarters, and women and children may have been part of the work force.  The quality of family life suffered, there was an incentive not to have children, and reliable birth prevention devices made their appearance around the same time.

    In 1864, Pope Pius IX issued the encyclical Quanta cura, and his “Syllabus of errors” condemning many of the cases of government interference in the affairs of the Church.[3]  These two documents are well worth reading today—especially in societies like our own where people seem to accept the idea that government should have a hand in virtually all human affairs.

    But even men like Pius IX and Leo XIII would probably be amazed if they could have looked into the future and seen the sorry state of things in 2015.  Amazed and horrified!

    I don’t think they could have foreseen supposedly “civilized” people treating their own children as a sort of “disease” to be medically or surgically prevented—such procedures being called “reproductive health” and forced on the entire tax paying population.  In some cases forced upon even those wanting to have a second child, as in Communist China.

    I don’t think they could have foreseen governments simulating the marriage of men to men and women to women—or the legal penalties imposed on those refusing to have anything to do with such abominations.

    Quite likely, they could not have foreseen the depravity that passes for education in public schools—again at the expense of the entire tax paying population.  Certainly, they had no clue that the Catholic schools might, in some cases, become even worse.

    But the remedy proposed by Pope Leo is universal.  No matter what unforeseen and crazy attacks on family life come in our future—and it would be foolish to think that things won’t get worse in the future—the remedy must consist in Catholic families modeling themselves after the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. 

    Back in 1959, a Father George A. Kelly took the ideas of Pope Leo and turned them into a prayer for the consecration of our own families to the Holy Family.  In closing, I’d like to read it to you now, and remind you that you will be able to find it on the parish web site.  There will also be a link to the Breviary readings this morning, which contained Pope Leo XIII’s original words.[4]

    But here is Father Kelly’s prayer:

    O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, Who having come to enlighten the world, with Your teaching and example, willed to pass the greater part of Your life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to You this day. Defend us, guard us and establish among us Your holy fear, true peace and concord in Christian love: in order that by conforming ourselves to the divine pattern of Your Family we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.

    Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by your kind intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.

    Saint Joseph, most holy Guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by your prayers in all our spiritual and temporal necessities; that we may be able to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and you, for all eternity.

    (Our Father, Hail Mary and Gloria three times.)[5]

      So, please, all of you, strive to make your families like the Holy Family.

“Put on … a heart of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, …
put on charity, which is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts….”








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