by Margaret Anne Ashfield, ofs, former Spiritual Assistant
What is a family? What makes a holy family? What does the Feast of the Holy Family have to do with a band concert?
At first glance there seems to be no connection. Perhaps you will find it in this true story. One Christmas our son was performing in his school band Christmas concert. I was supposed to work that evening and although his father and sister were going to be there, he was disappointed I would miss it. “But why? You always come to all my concerts,” he pleaded.
At the last minute I was able to get the evening off, so joined my family and hundreds of other parents, on the bleachers in the gymnasium attentively listening to our children play. As I looked around, I saw people who had given up their time, their needs and their wants, to be there to share this precious moment with their child. Just like Mary and Joseph, they would do whatever they could to support and nourish their child. They would help and protect each other as they struggled through the pain and joy of family life.
As I listened to the band play, I realized that they too had formed a family. A family where each member, each instrument, brought its own unique gift and by working together, created harmony in the musical piece.
At the end of the concert, small groups of people gather together throughout the gym, as families and friends shared the joyous experience.
We belong to many types of families – our biological family – our workplace family – our fraternal family – our church family for by our adoption, through God’s great love for us, we belong to the family of God. Like Mary and Joseph, we parents know all about dying to self for the good of our family. We know the love and joy we experience when we are together. We are also part of a “Holy Family.” How do I know this? Because where there is love, there will be found a holy family.
Here are some questions to think about:
What makes our Franciscan fraternity a family?
What gift do I bring to my Franciscan family?
What are some of the ways we help our ill and elderly members of our fraternity who can no longer attend meetings?