I've been turning over this unflattering statement about me in my head ever since. Ugh. Who wants to hear something mean, unflattering, critical about themselves? Oh, I suppose we have to hear it sometimes - maybe a job review or standing in that three way mirror in the dressing room when your friend says, "You can't wear those pants in public." But at least we know it's coming - we're set up for it. We've sort of given "permission" if you will, for another person to take a critical view of us.
But what to do when it comes out of "nowhere"? Suddenly, I hear that someone whom I consider a friend said something rather...mean. And it hurts. It feels like a little betrayal.
I have often wondered what life was like for the little Holy Family. Settled in a small home in Nazareth, inside their home must have been warmth and love and joy. But what did the neighbors say? Did they make snide remarks about the timing of the child's birth? "You know, I heard she was pregnant before they were wed...." Did Mary's humility draw the ire of those less charitable? Did Joseph's quiet ways make him an easy target for bolder, less-honorable men? And Jesus...well, He always drew the attention of those quick to judge.
Please don't get me wrong: I am NOT comparing myself to the members of the Holy Family. I am saying, though, that they knew must have known how it felt to have critical, mean, judgmental things said about them, and I find comfort in that. They knew what it meant to be hurt by a neighbor, a friend, a colleague.
"The Family of Nazareth was the first model of the Church in which, in the presence of Jesus and thanks to His mediation, a filial rapport with God came to transform even interpersonal relations". - Pope Benedict XVI
Let us pray to the Holy Family that we can transform all our relationships into ones that are good, holy and honest.