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Putting on the Bond of Perfection

The Feast of the Holy Family

And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful (Col. 3:14-15)

Despite what the world tells us, we’re still in the joys of the Christmas season and will be for the next week. The Church gives us wonderful feasts to celebrate during these Octave days of Christmas. Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The liturgy for today’s feast tells us in the opening prayer,

O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity….

Christ is that bond of charity and source of virtues. Saint Paul tells us in that beautiful second reading from Colossians, we’re given many virtues to strive for and imitate. These virtues are, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another… (Col. 3:12-13)

As pertinent and noble as these virtues are; in addition to them, we’re to put on love and put on Christ. Indeed, to put on Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, the very Love of God, Who has been poured out into our hearts. (Romans 5:5). A family and its members have Christ in their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. By this grace we’re able to imitate our Blessed Mother in Her conceiving Christ in the flesh by the power of that same Holy Spirit. Christ is the center of our hearts and our world, our universe. The Second Vatican Council’s document on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes, teaches that the family is the foundation of society (52).

Today we honor the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. But we also honor today and encourage today, the goodness and power of the family generally speaking. The family is where the love of Christ is witnessed to. The self-giving love of husband and wife always open to life, brings forth the goodness and blessing of children. Through the power of the sacrament of marriage where a man and woman are joined together to become one flesh, the love of Christ for the Church is witnessed. However, the family can be witnessed to in a variety of ways in the Church. We have many examples of this variation of family in the lives of the saints. And there’s also family life lived out in religious communities in the consecrated life. Here, this self-offering love is live out in a particular way….well at least ideally…as it is I’m sure with family life in general. None-the-less, in all varieties of families, there is to be self-giving love open to life, imitating and witnessing to the self-giving love of Christ on the Cross. It is in the family where we learn how to give and take, offering something of themselves for the other. We are made holy by sharing in the fullness of the life of Christ. We are created in His image and likeness, in the life of the Trinity. In the book of Genesis we read, “Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1.26). We are created in the image of the Trinity, in the image of the relationship that the Trinity Is, the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The love of Christ is at the center of the family as He is the center of creation. All that moves and lives in creation is drawn back to the central act of the love of Christ, that is His coming into the world through the power of the Holy Spirit born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His self-offering of love on the Cross for our Redemption. The beautiful teachings on the family as the soul of society spills over into the world through the life of the family, teaching the world how to love. This is why it’s good for us in love to pray for the promotion and encouragement of the institution marriage and family life. In our world more and more we see confusion about the truth of the family and marriage, and the culture of death rearing its ugly head in the realities of abortion, artificial birth control, and the redefinition of marriage. Naming these as distortions of family life is not about condemning, but about teaching the Truth in Love. The family is again at the heart and center our society, and it’s there where we learn to love one another and to exemplify this love for the world. 

Today, let us pray through the powerful intercession of the Holy Family. May we all grow in these beautiful virtues of family life in order to cooperate with Christ in striving to bring about His image in the world.


Fr. Aidan, OSB

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Ana R.
Ana R.
7 months ago

Wonderful article! Thank you, Father Aiden!