The importance of the Christian family and the role of parents in the integral growth of their children

On the festive day of the Holy Family, the Church draws our attention to a fact that could go unnoticed: Jesus, the Son of God who became incarnate, needed a “nest” of protection, the house of Joseph and Mary. It was there that Jesus found the conditions for integral growth, because, according to Saint Luke, he “increased in stature, wisdom and grace”, that is, in body, mind and spirit.

The collaboration of Mary and Joseph in the work of saving humanity is admirable. God being in the world needed a family. Mary, in addition to giving him the shelter of her sacred womb, gave Jesus her blood and milk, her love and affection; but she also taught the Boy to walk and prayed with him. Joseph, the righteous, was the model of a manly father for Jesus, giving him the timbre of his voice, the rhythm of his speech, the balance in his walk. Even more, he read to Jesus the Holy Scripture, taught him his profession, provided his daily bread.

From this, it must occur to us that the family has an unequalled place to form its members in Christian, cultural and social values, solidly built on faith. Parents are their children’s first catechists, from whom they learn the first steps of faith. And this role belongs to both the parents. Education is a task that cannot be relegated to just one of the parents but all members of the family, a family perceived in terms of our African reality, which includes other members beyond the country.

Since the essence and functions of the family are ultimately defined by love, and the family is entrusted with the mission of guarding, revealing and communicating love, as a living reflection and participation of God’s love for humanity and the Christ’s love for the Church his Bride, it is in the Holy Family, in this original “domestic Church”, that all families must mirror themselves. In fact, by a mysterious divine design, the Son of God lived hidden for many years: it therefore constitutes the prototype and example of all Christian families. Mary a model mother, Joseph a model father and Jesus a model son, always obedient to his parents.

In our days, the family has been the target of powerful evil attacks, introducing into our midst some family styles that are not God’s will. Firstly, in Africa, the family is not just the parents, secondly, the parents must be male and female, in the schemes of what was conceived by the Lord in the origins. Unfortunately, we Christians have collaborated in these attacks against the family, especially when we allow other family models to be created. On the other hand, we harm the family when we allow time for family prayer and sharing the Word of God to be exchanged for social media and other forms of fun and waste of precious time. Let us remember that when a family is destroyed, a society is destroyed. So let us preserve the sacredness of the family and its importance in creating people of integrity and rooted in values and virtues.

This Sunday let us ask ourselves about our family life. Let us pray for those closest to us and for all families in the world. At home, let us work with love: there is a lot of talk about commitment, but before being a Christian, outside of your home, wouldn’t it be necessary, first of all, to be a Christian in your own home?

For this reason, it is an urgent invitation to convert our families, reorienting our life For this reason, it is an urgent invitation to convert our families, reorienting our life projects towards Jesus Christ. Not only the family of Nazareth, but also ours is a “holy family”. And we cannot cast that which is sacred to the swine…

Pray without ceasing: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15b).