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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Harvey

Feast of the Holy Family: Holy Habits for the Family

As Catholic Christians, we continue to enter more deeply into the Christmas season. The Feast of the Holy Family is part of the Christmas season. We know very little about the years that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus spent together. Perhaps it is better this way. Jesus knew family life. Our Lord descended into the depths of family life and filled it with his presence and love. Jesus sanctified, made holy, family life. At the Mass for the Feast of the Holy Family, the priest prays, 

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, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. -Collect for the Feast of the Holy Family 

The Feast of the Holy Family is not meant to merely recall a historical fact and sentimental statements that then flow from it. We pray and pursue holiness in our families that imitate the Holy Family. As we begin a new year, how will our families grow in holiness and virtue this year? What is the plan? Is there a plan? 

holy family

Over the last decade I have traveled to give about thirty talks on the Church’s vision for the family, for my family, and for your family. Most are in shock. “No one ever told me that I should be teaching my kids. That is why we signed them up for X.” Another common response, “I worry that it is too late for me. Where do I even begin?” As a people of hope and dependent on grace, it is never too late. “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). The God of the Bible, the Church, and social science studies all tell us that the role of a parent is crucial and nearly irreplicable for the passing on of the faith to a child. Where do you begin? 

First, begin by talking about faith as a family. Talk about it in the car, at meals, and in other settings. “Teach them [God’s Law] to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 11:19). Listen to podcasts, read books, and attend bible studies. Then share what you learn with your child.  

A 2021 survey on why some Catholics leave and some stay looked at the kind of habits that young adults that still go to Mass had in their childhood. 

  • Mass 

  • Prayer Before Meals 

  • Reading the Bible 

  • Praying the Rosary 

  • Holy Hour of Adoration 

  • Confession 

  • Volunteering 

This is what they did as a family. For the bible, rosary, adoration, confession, and volunteering, the families did this once a month or more. This is not a magical recipe for keeping our kids Catholic, but it is a good place to start for developing habits of grace for inviting our child to encounter God and to respond with faith. As we celebrate the Holy Family of Nazareth, let us consider what it would take for us to become a holy family.

For more insight on becoming a holy family, check out The Role of Parents as Teachers of the Faith 

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