As we settle into Ordinary Time, before beginning the Lenten season, this month gives us a special opportunity to reflect on the ways that ordinary life can absolutely be extraordinary. February is dedicated to the Holy Family. This wonderful tradition began in the 17th century as a means to encourage families to look to the example of the Holy Family as a model in our everyday lives.
This can be celebrated as a family alongside the feast days of the month with coloring pages, crafts, or special prayers, but for me, this month provides a special opportunity to reflect on my own family and look at the ways that I can both bring the Holy Family into our home and also how we can imitate them in our daily life.
“Every Christian family is called to be a small “domestic church” that must shine with the Gospel virtues. Recollection and prayer, mutual understanding and respect, personal discipline and community asceticism and a spirit of sacrifice, work and solidarity are typical features that make the family of Nazareth a model for every home.” (Saint Pope John Paul II)
It is so easy for me to sometimes lose sight of the reality that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were a real-life family that had to do very ordinary things like cook, clean, laugh, work, fix, and learn, just like we do (in fact, all of it without electricity!). When I reflect on what their daily life was like, I realize how blessed and grateful I am for our family and everything that goes with it… from laundry to celebrations, every tear and every hug… and with a heart full of gratitude and joy, backlit by the model of the Holy Family, I am able to reflect ever-so-much clearer on the ways we can grow:
How are we a domestic church?
How can we be models of Christ’s love in our homes?
How can we demonstrate each individual’s immense worth?
How can we instill a love of the Lord?
How do we teach virtues such as charity and service?
How can we better imitate the Holy Family in our daily chores, prayers, or attitudes?
There are so many ways to reflect on our lives and the things we can do better, but specifically considering how we can live more like the Holy Family helps focus each question on the communal sanctity and sacredness of the family unit. It is the example of the Holy Family that sits as an inspiration on how the ordinary everyday can be so exquisitely extraordinary.
May the Holy Family be a guiding light in our everyday lives, and may we always strive to be examples of the Lord’s extraordinary love in our families each day.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.
Mary our Good Mother, pray for us.