Happy 2015, MCCW-Worldwide community! Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? I made a few, but the resolution that I think is most important is to focus on building my holy family.
This Christmas break, my family of five and I set out on a road trip to Los Angeles. We spent 14 hours packed in the Ford Explorer with ten days of luggage before arriving at the Happiest Place of Earth – Disneyland. We played at Disneyland for a few days and then checked into a house we rented with my parents in-law and brother in-law. By day four, my older two children were on a massive (Disneyland + grandparent spoiling + Christmas presents + candy + family vacation) sugar high that would make even Buddy the Elf’s head spin. My two year-old, who I’m convinced is a genius, had figured out how to play the grandparents off of my husband and me to obtain exactly what he wanted and when (even at 2am, 3am, 4am, etc.). As I’m sure many of you have experienced, even the best family vacations tend to get a little too cozy after a while.
I LOVE my family, but by the time the Feast of the Holy Family rolled around, we were on day EIGHT. Yes, day EIGHT, of our family vacation. My introverted instincts just needed to be alone and to have some quiet time with a good book. I was sitting in Mass on the Feast of the Holy Family during this vacation thinking this very humble prayer:
“Dear Lord, My family is driving me nuts. Please give me some quiet. Just a little bit of quiet! Please let me not yell at my kids, and please let my kids calm down that I can relax for five minutes! That is all.”
Just as I rattled of this very mature prayer (yes, I realize I was totally whining), it kind of hit me that I was whining about my family on the Feast of the Holy Family. What was wrong with me? Then what I really needed to hear that day came through:
You have a HOLY family not a PERFECT family.
We don’t call Jesus, Mary, and Joseph the Perfect Family. They are the Holy Family. I’m guessing that the Perfect Family does not exist because we simply are not perfect. We were given the Holy Family as our model of family because it is possible for us to attain holiness, but never absolute perfection in this life. Isn’t it great that our God is realistic with us?
We are called to emulate the Holy Family in their love and faithfulness. This is encouraging to me because I’m so far from perfect. For starters, I am the parent who got annoyed with my kids while on vacation at Disneyland! None of our families are perfect. Our blood-related families are not perfect. Our blended families are not perfect. Our church families are not perfect. Our family of friends is not perfect. However, we can work together to have more holy families or every shape and size.
It was during this Mass that I was given my New Year’s Resolution – to build a more holy family. Now, every expert will tell you that a resolution has to be more concrete than just an idea. So here are some steps I have come up with to work on building my holy family:
1. Work through the catechesis for the World Meeting of Families that will take place in September of 2015. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Our Sunday Visitor has put out a catechesis for children in all grade levels and adults to prepare for this meeting.
2. Don’t expect perfection. This is going to be the hardest.
3. Pray with my kids. It’s very easy to tell my kids to say their prayers, and my kids do say their prayers. It’s equally easy to say a prayer with them. So, I’m resolving to pray nightly with my kids in addition to saying grace before meals.
4. Praise my kids more. It is easy to focus on what my kids are doing wrong – like eating too much candy, or bouncing off the walls while on vacation, or not taking their showers when told. What if instead I praised the fact that while they were bouncing off the walls, they were actually playing well together amidst the craziness?
How will you build your holy family in 2015? MCCW would love to hear about it! Comment below with your resolutions for living a holier 2015. One person who comments below will be selected to receive a special gift from MCCW – A copy of The One Thing – Passing Faith onto Children by Matthew Kelly to help you in growing a Holy Family.
Happy New Year to my Holy MCCW Family!