November 14, 2019

Emulating the Holy Family

On the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth, it is opportune for us to become aware of a prevailing feeling that we ourselves might harbor within.

We might feel that, if we are loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church, i.e. of Christ himself, we would be considered old-fashioned, passé, out of step with the new morality imposed by relativism. Relativism holds that anything goes; anything is as good as the next thing or idea. To listen to what the media tell us, we should be ashamed to believe only in the value of the traditional family. They keep telling us that, in our day and age, there are several types of family all equally acceptable and valid.

Well, today we are called upon to reject this warped way of reasoning. We should firmly believe that only the traditional family with one man as husband and father and one woman as wife and mother can fulfill the two purposes for which God has established the human family. Only the traditional family can fulfill God’s commands to become one flesh and to be fertile. Only the traditional family is thus natural because it can naturally fulfill the dual purposes for which God has instituted it.

Today, we are urged to affirm boldly that God’s laws do not change with the passing of time, because God is the same yesterday, today and forever. While fads and trends change with the passing of time and are easily replaced by new ones, God’s laws remain the same because they are designed for the good of humankind across the millennia.

In every age, God’s laws are there to assure that every one of his children reaches his or her fulfillment by following his laws, including natural law. Natural law is the law made up of all laws that we can gather by observing the way nature operates.

It is disingenuous and counterproductive to insist that unconventional types of family can serve humankind as adequately as the traditional family can do so naturally. Those who insist that natural and unnatural family units are interchangeable, of equal value, both satisfactorily capable of fulfilling God’s purpose and left to one’s choice, are doing so because they are driven by an agendum which deliberately ignores natural law and, thus, reality itself.

On the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth, we are invited to protect the concept of traditional family and to make our own family a good replica of that Holy Family. The Catholic Church firmly believes that the future of society and the future of humankind depend largely on how many people are willing to invest all their energies to protect and foster the traditional family.

In the eyes of those who consider themselves modern, open-minded and progressive we will always be dense, bigoted, and intolerant. Yet, this, my friends, is the price we ought to pay for the unique value that we give to the traditional family. As we regroup and find new energy in God’s Word and in Holy Communion, we feel inspired to recite and to live out the “serenity prayer.”

O GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our inspiration comes from the Holy Family of Nazareth. Mary and Joseph received from God unshakable trust in him and the serenity to accept what they could not change. They also had the docility and the courage to change what they could change and embrace countless hardships relying on the Father’s infinite love.

Similarly, we cannot change the concerted attacks against the traditional family coming towards us from all sides. We cannot change the minds and hearts of those who reject our stance, of those who do not see the unique value of the traditional family as God has intended to be. So, we ask God for the serenity to accept all that. We also ask God for the docility and the courage to change the things within our family that we can change, and to acquire those attitudes listed by St. Paul his Letter to the Colossians (3:12-14):

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.

May the Lord God assist us with his Grace; help us to live with serenity; possess all the courage that we need to make our family more and more like the Holy Family of Nazareth and to live each day led by the wisdom to know the difference.

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Written by
Fr Dino Vanin

REVEREND DINO VANIN, PIME was born in Cendon di Silea, Province of Treviso, Italy in 1946. He entered the PIME Seminary at Treviso at the tender age of eleven. He came to the U.S. in 1968, studying Theology at Darlington Major Seminary in New Jersey. He has an MA in Secondary School Administration from Seton Hall University. Ordained in 1972, he served as an administrator, teacher, rector and principal at the PIME High School Seminary in Newark, Ohio before being sent to the missions of Thailand, where he served for six years. He is currently the Treasurer of the U.S. Region of PIME in Detroit. On December 16, 2018 he was installed as Pastor of San Francesco Catholic Church in Clinton Township, MI. Every week he takes some time off from his parish ministry to do some administrative work at PIME headquarters in Detroit. Due to his increased workload at the parish while continuing as Treasurer of the U. S. Region of PIME and as counselor and spiritual director, he spends any time left doing a little woodworking.

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Written by Fr Dino Vanin
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