This Unholy Family

The Holy Family - Rembrandt
This Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. In 2007, Bl. John Paul the Great said this:
In the Gospel we do not find discourses on the family but an event which is worth more than any words: God wanted to be born and to grow up in a human family. In this way he consecrated the family as the first and ordinary means of his encounter with humanity....
The Holy Family of Nazareth is truly the "prototype" of every Christian family which, united in the Sacrament of Marriage and nourished by the Word and the Eucharist, is called to carry out the wonderful vocation and mission of being the living cell not only of society but also of the Church, a sign and instrument of unity for the entire human race.

When my children were very little, before the youngest ones could even write their names, Dear Husband and I wrote a family mission statement, and had the kids "sign" it with their hand prints. In it, we pledge to follow the example of the Holy Family in love and service to others.

We fail. A lot.

My family is definitely not what I thought it would be. I envisioned a much holier group of folks. People who loved to pray together, chat about theological issues, head off to Mass with bounding joy, and find refuge in the sacraments.

Not so much.

We are an unholy lot, myself included. We struggle and scream, vent and vacillate, fall and fail. I'd like to think that Mary and Joseph could come over for dinner anytime, but we would have to do so much cleaning I'd have to take a week off of work. Plus, there's the dogs; they aren't very well trained. But then again, neither are the kids.

It is what it is. We laugh at each other's jokes, tease about family nonsense, remember to hug and say "I love you" a lot. We are a family of choice and chance, brought together by the love of God and the joyfulness of being open to life. I  know that we don't live up to John Paul's vision of the family but we're hanging in there. This most unholy family: ordinary means of extraordinary grace.

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