Friday, February 16, 2007

Fighting the Devil's Attack on the Family

praying hands

The family is under constant attack. It seems like the devil is working overtime to destroy what God has created.

On the Woodland Word,Tracy's blog, she shares an insightful article by Father Roger Landry. I would like to share some excerpts with you:

All of existence is meant to be familial. Pope John Paul II used to call the Blessed Trinity a family, because it is a structured communion of persons in love, with a Father, a Son and the love between them. The human person was made in the image and likeness of God, "male and female He made them" (Gn 1:27-28), and hence the image of God is familial: a husband and a wife can love each so much that, like the Trinity, their love can generate a third person. They can literally "make love" and then name, raise and live in joyful communion with the love they've made.

But man, woman and children didn't live up to their being in the image of God. Right from the beginning, sin invaded the family. It began with Adam and Eve and the first sin. It quickly passed to their children. Cain killed his brother Abel. There was envy between Abraham's sons Isaac and Ishmael, enmity between Isaac's sons Jacob and Esau, envy between Jacob's 12 sons, ten of whom ganged up to try to kill their brother Joseph. There was deadly envy in David's family. The list goes on and on. Simply put, the family had become a mess. As the human family "increased and multiplied," so did sin. Jesus was born of a family to come to redeem the family, which has such a crucial role in the world God created.

Isn't it interesting that this week's Mass readings have been Genesis...about God's creation, the Fall of Man. Even in the very beginning the devil started causing trouble in the family.

Each family needs to see whether they're centering their lives on Christ. So many families today are centered on the television, or on sports, or lessons of one sort or another, or on work schedules. But Christ needs to be the center of a family's activities. It's not enough for the members of the family to pray individually. They need to pray together...

The members of a family need to do the will of God and encourage each other to do the will of God. Many families do this. They inspire each other to become holy and encourage each other to pray. Some of the most beautiful conversions I've seen in the priesthood have occurred during marriage preparation, when the faith of the future bride or groom is so contagious that it inspires the other to start to take the faith much more seriously. The members of the family, by what they say, do and fail to do, will either help the others become holy or help them to sin on the basis of whether they try to do the will of God and encourage the others to do the same.

Lastly, the family is always under threat. At the beginning of time, with Adam and Eve, the devil attacked the family, separated husband from wife through sin, and got brother to kill brother. When Jesus came to redeem the family, the attacks didn't stop. The devil filled Herod's heart and the maniacal monarch sent his henchmen to try to kill the Christ child. But God acted. He sent His angel to wake Joseph up from his sleep and tell him to take Mary and Jesus and flee into Egypt. The devil continues to try to divide families through sin. We see it in countless broken families, the fifty percent divorce rate, in the unhappiness of many homes even when the family stays intact...

...When the Holy Family was under attack, God sent His messenger to St. Joseph to wake him up and warn him about the threat. Joseph immediately got up and acted to protect the Holy Family. God is sending you a message. Wake up! The family is under attack. He wants us to get up like St. Joseph and act. We ask Mary to intercede for us and our families, to help them become truly holy. We also ask St. Joseph to intercede so that we might be as courageous in defending the institution of the family as he was in protecting the Holy Family.

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