Sunday, 12 January 2014
The family ... holy in essence, holier when shared
We've just spent a pleasant impromptu evening with two other families: chatting, eating, laughing. Children from toddlers to teenagers romping and playing. As with many similar gatherings, the evening ended with everyone together in one warm room, praying together in the gloaming light of the fire. Together young and old sang the last carols of the Christmas season. We prayed the Rosary, the father of the hosting family leading a decade, then the young girls, then the boys, followed by the mothers and finally the fathers all praying together. A savvy teenager reminded us that we could gain a plenary indulgence if we prayed the Creed and the Prayers for the Pope as well as our rosary, and we sang a Salve Regina with even the youngest children raising their voices to God. I was acutely aware of what a blessing this gathering of souls was, and that the warmth I felt was not simply the contrast of the cozy woodstove compared to the rainy night outdoors, but the far more profound warmth of true fellowship and a shared love of God and family. There is something both humbling and ennobling about groups of families praying together; it is as though the raging storm stills for a moment and Heaven bends its ear to the collective prayers.
Today is, appropriately, the Feast of the Holy Family (E.F.) - I wish all my readers and their families a happy and holy feast day.