Holy Family of Nazareth: Example of True Love

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“The covenant of love and fidelity lived by the Holy Family of Nazareth illuminates the principle which gives shape to every family, and enables it better to face the vicissitudes of life and history. On this basis, every family, despite its weaknesses, can become a light in the darkness of the world.” (Pope Francis. Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” on Love in the Family, 03/19/2016, N. 66)

          In his Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”, on Love in the Family, Pope Francis ended the document by proposing a prayer of consecration of families, and of the apostolate of families, to the Holy Family of Nazareth. This beautiful prayer is a synthesis of the whole message of the document. Let us meditate and pray as proposed by the Pope (Amoris Laetitia, 325):

          “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendour of true love; to you we turn with trust. Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic churches. Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division; may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing. Holy Family of Nazareth, make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer. Amen.” 

          Pope Francis taught us that the Holy Family of Nazareth lived mutual love to the full, forming a “covenant of love and fidelity”. This covenant is a “shining example of the principle (foundation) that shapes the family and strengthens it to face life’s difficulties. Let’s see:

          “The covenant of love and fidelity lived by the Holy Family of Nazareth illuminates the principle which gives shape to every family, and enables it better to face the vicissitudes of life and history. On this basis, every family, despite its weaknesses, can become a light in the darkness of the world. ‘Nazareth teaches us the meaning of family life, its loving communion, its simple and austere beauty, its sacred and inviolable character. May it teach how sweet and irreplaceable is its training, how fundamental and incomparable its role in the social order’ (Paul VI, Address in Nazareth, January 5, 1964).” (Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” on Love in the Family, 03/19/2016, N. 66).

          “Let us learn from Nazareth how precious and irreplaceable family education is and how fundamental and incomparable its role in the social order.” (Paul VI, Address in Nazareth, January 5, 1964)

          The Holy Family of Nazareth is a “shining example of true love” as Pope Francis teaches us. Let’s see:

          “«Jesus, who reconciled all things in himself, restored marriage and the family to their original form (cf. Mt 10:1-12). Marriage and the family have been redeemed by Christ (cf. Eph 5:21-32) and restored in the image of the Holy Trinity, the mystery from which all true love flows. The spousal covenant, originating in creation and revealed in the history of salvation, takes on its full meaning in Christ and his Church. Through his Church, Christ bestows on marriage and the family the grace necessary to bear witness to the love of God and to live the life of communion.»” (Pope Francis. Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” on Love in the Family, 03/19/2016, N. 63)

          The true love on which love in the family must be based is love that bas its foundation on God, as Pope Francis teaches us. Let’s see:

          “In a lyrical passage of Saint Paul, we see some of the features of true love: «Love is patient, love is kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things» (1 Cor 13:4-7). Love is experienced and nurtured in the daily life of couples and their children. It is helpful to think more deeply about the meaning of this Pauline text and its relevance for the concrete situation of every family.” (Pope Francis. Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” on Love in the Family, 03/19/2016, N. 90)

          Pope Francis told us that it is worth pausing to clarify the meaning of the expressions in this text (1 Cor 13, 4-7) with a view to its application to the concrete existence of each family. This is what we will do in the next editions of “Josephite Spirituality Seeds” based on the Word, the Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”, and the Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos, through which Pope St. John Paul II teaches us that St. Joseph is the person to whom God has entrusted the custody of his most precious treasures. Let’s see:

          “I wish to offer for your consideration, dear brothers, and sisters, some reflections concerning him “into whose custody God entrusted his most precious treasures.” I gladly fulfill this pastoral duty so that all may grow in devotion to the Patron of the Universal Church and in love for the Savior whom he served in such an exemplary manner. ” (Pope St. John Paul. Apostolic Exhortation “Redemptoris Custos”, Saint Joseph Guardian of the Redeemer, N.1) In the fullness of time, God entrusted the custody of his most precious treasures to St. Joseph. Today, he entrusts to the Holy Family of Nazareth the care of this treasure so precious that it is the human family.

Let us celebrate the Feast of the Holy Spouses Joseph and Mary, on the twenty-third of January as indicated by the Church or as discerned in the Community, and prepare for this celebration by saying daily the prayer proposed by Pope Francis and transcribed at the beginning of this “Josephite Spirituality Seeds”.

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