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Make Family Great Again

Written by Yves Jacques, Anne Marie Jacques on Wednesday, 01 March 2017. Posted in Family

The Jacques family

In MICHAEL (Oct/Nov/Dec 2016), we published the private revelations given to Edson Glauber by St. Joseph, Jesus and Mary (see info below), in Itapiranga, Brazil. We had no idea of the great response that we would receive in regards to these messages! St. Joseph has been given the special mission of Guardian of Families, as he so well guarded and protected the Holy Family while living upon this earth. In this response from our readers, we saw a truly heartwarming concern for the state of the family in our world today.

It is an understatement to say that marriage and the family are under severe attack. Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, catalogues the cultural factors gnawing away at the institution of the family, including: “extreme individualism,” the “pace of life” that militates against decisions for permanent relationships, the mantra of “choice” as the highest of human goods, leading to “an inability to give oneself generously to others.” Confused ideas of freedom – “that each individual can act arbitrarily, as if there were no truths, values, and principles to provide guidance, and that everything [is] possible and permissible.”1 … And we could go on and on, for there are all the spiritual attacks on the family as well.

But in that same letter the Pope also cautions against a Church “on the defensive, wasting pastoral energy on denouncing a decadent world without being proactive in proposing ways of finding true happiness.”2 This is the real challenge presented to us. And this is where we can and should make the difference.

Our own personal experiences over the years have always shown us that it is in the simplicity of how we live out our Faith within our own family that we see the greatest miracles happen. Being open to life, for example, we learned to trust totally in God’s all-loving care and protection. We experienced a true joy with the birth of each of our seven children, and the greatest grace for us was the realization that we were never given over to useless worry about how to provide for their needs, or their futures.

Pope Francis so often reminds us that children are the joy of the family and of society. They are a gift, each one unique and irreplaceable. Irreplaceable, because each one of them has a role to play in this world. Each one has gifts to offer and love to share. And at the same time each one is unmistakably linked to his/her roots. How many of us are the descendants of the 12th or 16th child in the families of our courageous and faith-filled ancestors?

The key then is to always move forward with TRUST. This is not to say that we have never had to suffer any trials — on the contrary! But we can honestly say that as we now look back, we can see how God’s gentle and loving hand always guided us through each and every one of our trials.

Faith has to be lived daily, and the only way to do that is with prayer — lots of prayer! — and trusting perseverance. That all sounds very nice, but how can we achieve this in our busy lives? In the article What Makes a Family Holy?, Pope Francis stresses the importance of prayer, especially prayer as a family, “realizing that we need God… [w]e need His help, His strength, His blessing, His mercy, His forgiveness.” And he says, it takes “simplicity to pray as a family.”

The Holy Family“The Holy Family is the beginning of countless other
holy families.” –Pope St. John Paul II

From the very beginning of our own marriage, we realized this importance of praying together (through a great grace from God!), and we made the decision to always pray the Rosary as a couple. Then with the birth of each of our children, we prayed together as a family; even the infant was present for the evening Rosary. And as soon as each child was able to speak and to learn their prayers, they each led the family in the recitation of their decade on the beads.

The Rosary was prayed together every evening, without exception. On weekends when our children had friends staying over, they too were included in the family Rosary. Our children grew up knowing that an hour was set aside each night for that very important prayer together. This was as much a part of our day as was our mealtimes.

Then there was the Holy Mass... We began one Lent, bringing the children to Mass with us. As we came to the end of Lent, we realized that it was doable, we could actually go to daily Mass with our children. Of course we had to consciously set aside that time so that it would fit into our regular schedule, sometimes searching out the churches with a Mass schedule that worked for us, but the Mass became a powerful strengthening part of our day.

Oftentimes we’d be asked, “How do you find the time to fit the Rosary and the Mass into your day? — And with all those kids?” Our response was always, “How can we not?” This was once the practice of almost every Catholic family in our country.

Pope St. John Paul II once said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” — We need to make Family great again — We need to understand that each child is a soul destined for Heaven. It is essential for us therefore, as parents, to make of our homes Domestic Churches. We must hand on to our children the precious gift of Faith. The prayers of children are so very dear to all of Heaven! Their prayers will make a difference, and the benefits which we shall all reap will be “world-changing”. Fr. Patrick Peyton, the great promoter of the Family Rosary, made popular the saying, “The family that prays together, stays together.” He also said that, “A world at prayer is a world at peace.” We can bring peace into this world, beginning in our own homes.

Someone only just recently said to us, “There are only two moments in our lives that are really important: ‘now, and at the hour of our death.’” Let us then seize the “now” and sanctify this moment, moving forward in our lives, holding fast to the “hem of His [Jesus’] garment” (Mat 9:20), while we shelter ourselves in the safety of Mary’s mantle and the cloak of St. Joseph. It is not the great things that we do throughout our lives, but rather, the simple things that we do well, and with great love.

1 George Weigel,
2 ibid.

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