The life of the Holy Family at Nazareth was a hidden life of prayer and work. Their whole day’s work was done for God alone, because prayer, simple and sublime, filled it completely. A charming simplicity dominated each of their domestic duties. Their disposition was always serene, because the thought of God absorbed them. Their hearts were in their home, and hence they could not be carried away on the stream of the world.
They lived in retirement and poverty, being satisfied with only the necessities of life. Sanctity was so carefully concealed beneath the quiet simplicity of their daily life that people did not realize the Son of God and His Virgin Mother dwelt among them.
How reverently did Mary and Joseph admire the beautiful example of Jesus! What food for thought was His obedience! His practice of this difficult virtue gave to the hidden life of Nazareth its sweetness, peace, and majesty. Although He was the Son of God, He was subject to His parents — His creatures — for thirty years.
The example of His loving obedience should be an inspiration to children. They can expect the blessing of God — as He promised in the Fourth Commandment — if they respect and honor their parents.
We cannot measure the growth of Mary and Joseph in holiness. Grace poured constantly from Christ — its source — into their souls. While their hands were busy, Jesus absorbed their thoughts and affections and thrilled their hearts with the purest love for Him. Divine love united them all in a holy, happy family.
The example of Our Lady
Our Lady is an attractive example for every wife and mother. Not only was she perfectly devoted to Joseph, her husband, but she was always an inspiration to him, especially in her love for her Son. It thrilled her with the purest joy to have so perfect a Model ever before her; to talk freely and often with Him; and to be so close an observer of His conduct. She filled her mind unceasingly with thoughts of His virtues. She pondered all His words and recorded them in her heart, as the Evangelist remarks. She was absorbed in acquiring His spirit. She spent herself and was spent in learning the practical knowledge of Jesus Christ, and in so doing, she became the holiest creature who ever walked this earth.
Try to imitate this perfect dedication to God, and, like Mary, you will be most pleasing to Him and a source of inspiration and help to your family. Endeavor to burn with the same desire to imitate your Savior. The practical imitation of Christ is your highest duty. Mary can best teach you to imitate Him, because she is the Mirror of Justice, who reflects the spirit of Jesus most powerfully and most faithfully. Thus you will gain the knowledge that will aid you in bringing your family to eternal life.
As Mary, beautiful and perfect, is the sublime model for every Catholic wife, so Joseph, “the just man,” gentle, kind, and chaste, is a model for every Catholic husband.
When God blesses your home with human life, the fruit of love, your family becomes like the Holy Family. In the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are exemplified the proper relations that should exist between husband and wife, parents and children. By practicing the domestic virtues of charity, obedience, and mutual help, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph sanctified family life.
Model your home life on the holy house of Nazareth
The Holy Family lived in a plain cottage among other working people, in a village perched on a hillside. Although they did not enjoy modern conveniences, the three persons who lived there made it the happiest home that ever was. You cannot imagine any of them at any time thinking first of himself. This is the kind of home a husband likes to return to and to remain in. Mary saw to it that such was their home. She took it as her career to be a successful homemaker and mother.
In establishing your home, adopt the characteristics of the holy house of Nazareth. In proportion as you do so, you will have fashioned for yourselves a replica of the happiest home that ever was on earth.
The thought of the Holy Family suggests the love of simplicity. Domestic and marital happiness are closely bound up with the simple but good things of your state of life. Seek your happiness within the range of your income and your social, domestic, and family circles, and you will spare yourself many heartaches. Husband, be fair to your wife and family in trying to provide the necessities and ordinary comforts of life. Wife, strive to live within the income that is provided.
Be loyal to each other in periods of trial, and confidently seek the blessing of God at Mass, Holy Communion, and prayer. Pray often to the Holy Family to sanctify your family by their example and intercession, so that you may reach the ultimate goal of your marriage: the eternal possession of God.
In all your family needs and problems, confide in the intercession and help of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. They will protect, guard, and keep you in holy fear, in peace, and in the harmony of Christian charity. By conforming yourselves to the divine model of this Holy Family, you will attain eternal happiness. Above all, through their prayers, you and your children will be enabled to honor God by a virtuous life so as to be worthy of a heavenly reward.
Every other consideration should yield to the thought of aiding each other to attain that goal. Only when religion permeates your daily life does your marriage fulfill its purpose. You and your children will find real happiness in direct proportion to your efforts to make God the very center of your married life. In this, the Holy Family should be your inspiration.
As a truly Catholic parent, try to copy the example of the Holy Family and to see in a hidden life of prayer, work, and daily fidelity to the commonplace, the surest steppingstone to sainthood.
As a family, try to lead a hidden life with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Through holy Mass, offer yourselves through Mary’s hands as a sacrifice with Jesus; at Holy Communion, you will be changed into Jesus by divine grace so that you may live His life; by your visits to the tabernacle, you will enjoy His friendship in the midst of the many problems of life. If you have faith, you will discover His presence and see His veiled glory.
If you love Him in the Holy Eucharist to the extent of making the Eucharist the center of your life, He will pour out His grace into your hearts and breathe the peace of God into your souls and make your burdens light. If you speak to Him, your God, with reverent familiarity, He will enlighten you about His Providence in your regard and strengthen you to bear the crosses He sends you. Devotion to the Holy Eucharist is the surest and easiest way of making your family resemble the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Joseph, the honest workman, is still the guardian of families. Mary, the Mother of God, is the blessed mother of every Catholic home. Jesus, subject to them — His creatures — is the model of every child. Through their intercession, may you and your family find your joy in God in this life, and may you be reunited to enjoy Him for all eternity in Heaven — as a family!