Saturday, 17 November 2018

Keep family bound together with love

TOWARDS the end of August, the World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin and Pope Francis will be in attendance.

The meetings began in 1994 and are held every three years. They bring together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect upon the central importance of the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church.

Although I will not be attending, that fact that is happening, has prompted me to consider how I celebrate, pray and reflect on the importance of family in my own life.

Undoubtedly one of my life’s greatest blessings was to have loving, supportive parents as I began to find my way in the world with all its ups and downs, though I didn’t always appreciate them at the time.

Now, how do I love and give support as a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother?

Family is so important. Let me quote Ron Rolheiser, a Canadian priest and author: “We desperately need family, not just to meet our needs of intimacy and companionship, but also, like rocks being polished in a grinder, to jostle us around so that our rough edges get smoothed, our fantasies get dispelled, our selfishness gets derailed, our sicknesses get some attention, and our hearts get stretched enough to let us sit at the final family-table where everyone will lovingly and healthily be able to sit with everyone else.”

“Familiarity breeds contempt”, goes the saying. We can become complacent and begin to take our family members for granted, an attitude that can undermine the quality of our family life.

So it’s important to reflect occasionally on the circumstances of my own family life. Not to judge the behaviour of those in my family but to take a look at my own role in contributing to a healthy and loving family.

Do I give them the love, encouragement and freedom to be the person God, not me, intended them to be?

It is said that: “A family that prays together stays together”. So within our families let us find the time to pray together and say “I love you” to one another. Start today!

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