Back in December on the Feast of the Holy Family, I met our new parish priest after Mass. We learned that he has been a priest for 14 years. He discovered we had four children and tried to guess their ages as they ran around him.
“Holy family,” he said.
But not like, “Holy family, Batman!”
“Busy family,” I said.
“Holy family, busy family,” he said.
The truth is we’re not exactly a holy family. We’re a pretty busy family, but not in a holy way. We’re more like a circus but not a classy circus like Cirque du Soleil. We’re like one of those low-budget traveling circuses who boast exotic animals that are just squirrels with tiny masks and a cat with an eye patch.
It was a nice thing for him to say. I mean, I understand the sentiment.
It was the Feast of the Holy Family.
We are a family.
The family is the foundation of faith. Or, maybe it’s faith that is the foundation of family. I’m not a theologian.
The Holy Family wasn’t anything like our family. The only instance where our family shares a similar moment was when Joseph and Mary lost Jesus in Jerusalem. I lost my daughter once at JC Penney. They found Jesus in the Temple, and he said, “Where else would I be but in my father’s house?” I found my daughter running by the men’s socks, and her response was, “Why does your face look so angry?”
Otherwise, we’re nothing like the Holy Family.
Then, there is Mary without sin.
She most definitely did not hide in her house eating candy behind a pile of laundry because it’s the safest room in the house. No one wants to go in there. They may be asked to retrieve a pile of their own clothing. Mary probably was never behind on laundry like I am because she was without sin. I, on the other hand, am loaded with it — laundry and sin. Because I’m lazy.
The Holy Family was actually a holy family called to do amazingly holy things. And I suppose this is why they were chosen. Because they are our example since we’re all called to be holy. When we strive to do what’s right for our family, we discover things about ourselves and our vocation, and in serving our families, we learn that true love is less of an emotion and more of a decision. Because as much emotion as there is in seeing an entire gallon of milk spilled on the floor and splattered at least two rooms away, love is not one of them.
Most days, we’re a hot mess.
Most days love feels like a decision.
Like 99% of days.
The other 1% is when we’re all sleeping.
*Disclaimer: hours and amounts of sleep are based on various days and family members. For example, right now in our house, everyone is awake at various times during the night. Except for the baby. So, the only person in the house who should be awake is the six-month-old and the only one sleeping through the night is the six-month-old.
*Disclaimer: for those of you who don’t have kids, you’ve probably heard about how kids eventually start sleeping through the night, but this is a lie. The only place sleep exists is in your life before kids.
I suppose what matters first and foremost is that we were open to a family. We expose that family to our faith and gift our children the opportunity to know God. Well, as best we can. We’re learning too, so it’s all one big crazy, clunky, learning process. After all, loving God is really what we’re made for. And if a family was good enough for Jesus, it’s certainly good enough for us. And we should all take a moment to be thankful that we were not entrusted to be the primary family of Jesus.
The idea of comparing our families to the Holy Family is less about perfection and worth, and more about striving to be the people we are called to be.
Even if it’s a circus most of the time.
Holy Family, Batman!
Copyright 2020 Sarah Ann Foss