Psalm 128: Pray It with the Holy Family

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

December 27, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, we pray with Psalm 128.

Blessed is everyone who lives in awe of the LORD,
who walks in God’s ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.

Throughout Christmas Day, I spent much time realizing and thanking God for how blessed I am by my family, and by my extended families.

It can be a great blessing to grow old in one’s family. I now claim the matriarchy within my own. 

I am the oldest, the only one to have known all my bloodline as babies. I can even reminisce over all my young in-laws with codgy phrases that claim my elder experience. 

I try to make that elderhood a blessing to them by my prayers and unconditional love, and by carrying to them the tremendous devotion with which my parents and grandparents long ago blessed this family.

But so many times, it is I who am blessed by these “youngsters”. 

On Christmas, through digital miracles like FaceTime, I could watch my younger and only brother and sister-in-law continue our family benediction over their grown children and young grandchildren.

I saw my millennial nieces and nephews pour that long-rooted caring over the next “grand” generation, their own beautiful children.

The caretaking of such a legacy is never automatic or guaranteed in a family. It requires the intentional choice of a maturing love and a deliberate generosity in each member as they grow in responsibility. It demands engagement, trust, and – at times – forgiveness and reconciliation.

Such a heritage thrives where each member provides their degree of mutual example, encouragement and support for the whole family. I think of Peg, my aunt by marriage not blood. I knew she loved and nurtured me and my brother with the same vigor that she loved her own children. That’s the kind of power that holds a family together over generations.

No family is perfect. We need to step in for each other sometimes. Sometimes, we need to call each other to our best selves. 

The Holy Family helps us through those times. They had their trials: unexpected pregnancy, town gossip, refugee status, widowhood, and a son arrested and executed by the government – just to cite the challenges we know of. Yet they model for us the grace-generating love God has for us as a human family.

As we deepen in years and grace, we learn that “family” can be defined by more than blood. In fact, it must be. And the greater our hearts, the wider our sense of family will be – until we might be fully enriched to realize that every person is our brother or sister.

As we pray and strive to learn from the Holy Family, may we be blessed according to Psalm 128:

Behold, thus are we blessed
who live in awe the LORD.
The LORD bless us from on high:
may we see grace and well-being
together, all the days of our lives.

Poetry: Family Court- Ogden Nash, whose light verse always had a point to it 😉

One would be in less danger 
From the wiles of a stranger 
If one's own kin and kith 
Were more fun to be with.

Reading with Music:

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