“In Faith and Love, trusting that the Lord, Our Mother Eagle – will always care for us and our families – and wants us to seek Him to Be His, forever!”
(Based on the Feast of the Holy Family – Sunday within the Octave of Christmas: Lk 2:41-52)
It’s interesting to know the making of an Eagle’s nest!
When a mother eagle builds her nest, she starts with thorns, broken branches, sharp rocks, and a number of other items that seem entirely unsuitable for the house.
Then she lines the nest with a thick padding of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for the eggs.
By the time the growing birds reach flying age, the comfort of the nest and the luxury of free meals make them quite reluctant to leave.
That’s when the mother eagle begins “stirring up the nest.”
With her strong talons, she begins pulling up the thick carpet of fur and feathers, bringing the sharp rocks and branches to the surface.
As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes uncomfortable for the young eagles.
Eventually, these urgings prompt the growing eagles to leave their once-comfortable abode and move on to more mature behaviour – and thus, these eaglets learn the art of mastering the skies!
It’s similar in our lives too!
“Stirring of the nest” ought to become moments for us to experience and trust the Divine Providence of our Lord who always protects us and wants us “to fly high!”
Today – the Feast of the Holy Family – is a day when we as a Family recall all those moments of “stirring of the nest” in our families, and thank God for His Protective Care…
… as we also renew our bond and commitment to one another, and as a family, to the Lord.
Every family is a “domestic church”
And every member of the Family has a duty to uphold the home, and thus the Church!
The Feast of the Holy Family is a day for all of us to thank God for the gift of our families
God loves Family Life!
The Bible gives a clear picture of this beautiful dimension of God’s Love for Family Life.
In the creation of Adam, God clearly expressed His Will concerning Family Life – “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18).
Thus Adam was given a life companion in Eve, to be the “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh” (Cf. Gen 2:23), laying the foundation of the principle of “unity and indissolubility in marriage.”
This is what Jesus later highlighted when He was questioned on the permissibility of divorce, when He emphatically declared, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder!” (Mk 10:9)
The story of the nation of Israel begins with Abraham and his family moving to the place directed by God (Cf. Gen 12:1-7).
Yes, the story of the salvation of a nation began with the obedience of a family!
This virtue of obedience would later be perfected by the Holy Family of Nazareth!
Mother Mary and St Joseph lived family lives seeking and doing God’s Will at all times
As we see in the Gospel of the Day, even when they faced the crisis of missing their Divine Child, they did not resort to any blame-game, instead, “when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him” (Lk 2:45)
When Jesus, the Eternal Word became flesh (Cf. Jn 1:14), He chose to be born in a Family.
The first sign shown by Jesus in St John’s Gospel, is that of a family facing a crisis (Cf. Jn 2:1-11)
Thus, we see that Family Life is dear to the Heart of God!
Today we live in times where the very fabric of family life is threatened and even questioned!
It’s in such a perilous context – when there is much “stirring of the nest” in our families – that the Feast of the Day is a call to every Christian Family to witness the Trinitarian Love to the world.
How do we foster our Christian families to be “God’s untarnished Eden of peace of love?”
a. Prioritize Worship: Worship is participating in the Sacramental Life of the Church – especially the Holy Eucharist. Going to Mass together, attending Adoration, Confession and partaking of other spiritual benefits offered by the Church as a united family goes a long way in “cementing familial bonds.”
b. Cultivate Discipleship: The call of every Christian is to be a disciple and an apostle (“to be with Him and to be sent out!” – Cf. Mk 3:14).
Learning and discussing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, having Bible study, preparing for the Sacraments especially the Holy Mass, sharing spiritual and faith experiences, reading the lives of saints
c. Foster Devotion: As we see in the Gospel, the family of Jesus used to go to the Jerusalem Temple every year, “as was the custom” (Cf. Lk 2:42) – teaching us to also foster regular devotion in the family.
Our own families need to have simple and habitual spiritual customs that will be ingrained into every member of the family – especially children…… daily family prayer, children seeking the blessing of parents, marking the sign of the cross with holy water especially while going out
… having a sacred space in a prominent place of the house which acts as ‘the hub for devout activities’, going for spiritual pilgrimages, practising the works of mercy, celebrating the feasts of saints and other important days of the Church, practising of ‘a virtue for the month’ etc
d. Nurture faithfulness: Family members ought to support and encourage in being faithful to one another, to the teachings of the Church and one’s duties as a Christian.
e. Promote Service: Every Christian family should steep itself into extending the merciful blessings of the Lord to others.
This also includes avoiding judgmental discourses, petty critical chit-chats and character assassination!
In moments of the “stirring of our nest” in our family life, let’s not panic or be disturbed…
Rather, in Faith and Love, let’s trust that the Lord – Our Mother Eagle – will always care for us…
… and wants us to seek Him… to Be His, forever!
Happy Feast of the Holy Family!
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, we love you!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvellously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit maybe produced in them.
For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit – indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born – all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
In the celebration of the Eucharist, these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the Body of the Lord.
And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives. (CCC # 901)
- Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
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