The Holy Family

by Marlon De La Torre

North Texas Catholic

December 18, 2019

A distinctive charism that the Holy Family intimately reveals to us is their openness to serve. St. Joseph is asked to care for Mary and Jesus and he humbly and lovingly obeys. Mary is asked to bear the Son of God and she humbly and lovingly obeys. Christ, the Son of God, offers Himself in the model of service through His sacrifice on the cross. 

In many ways, the charism of service exhibited by the Holy Family provides us with a genuine and authentic example of what it means to serve others before ourselves. The very act of service embraces a communal identity or, in other words, introduces the importance of family and community. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the Christian family as a communion of persons representative of the Blessed Trinity (CCC 2205).    

St. Joseph is the model husband and father due to his fidelity toward God expressed in his fidelity to Mary and his adopted son, Jesus Christ. Mary, the Mother of God, is the perfect wife and mother — she is the model of perfect obedience and charity as the God bearer. The very acts of faith expressed by the Holy Family as revealed in Sacred Scripture demonstrate a desire to follow the will of God and in turn affirm their fidelity to God. This beautiful act of grace serves as the beacon of hope all families may follow because the destination is our family in heaven. 

Holy Family Parish in Fort WorthHoly Family Parish in Fort Worth
Holy Family Parish in Fort Worth (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

Tell us about the Feast of the Holy Family.

The Feast of the Holy Family, established in 1893 by Pope St. Leo XIII, reflects on the role of St. Joseph as the adoptive father of Jesus Christ; Mary, the Mother of God, chosen to bear the Son of God Jesus Christ; and Jesus Christ Himself who is the second person of the Blessed Trinity and is the Incarnate Word. 

The Holy Family is regarded as the perfect model of holiness and sanctity for all Catholic families to imitate. It provides us with an example of how to practice authentic fatherhood and motherhood toward our children. 

Why was Jesus born into a family?

The Nativity, or birth, of Jesus Christ signifies and demonstrates the love God has for us, His people, through His only begotten son as the Word made flesh. In Christ we come to know and understand that God intended to bring all of us back into full communion with Him through the birth of a son as the second person of the Blessed Trinity. 

Jesus’ birth signifies through His life, death, and resurrection that His responsibility was to bring man back to God. Jesus’ birth within the Holy Family represents our entrance into the Kingdom of God. 

Are there specific devotions to the Holy Family?

Several prayers, devotions, and novenas are attributed to the Holy Family. See for an example of a Holy Family Novena. 

A novena to the Holy Family is most appropriately begun nine days before the feast of the Holy Family. This year, the novena would begin Dec. 21 and conclude on Sunday, Dec. 29. It is also fitting to pray it during the month of February, which is consecrated to the Holy Family. 

What lessons can modern families learn from the Holy Family?

The exercise and application of the virtues of humility and prudence serve as principle lessons all families can learn and apply in their daily lives. 

In St. Joseph, we have the model of a husband and foster father who faithfully and prudently cared for the Blessed Mother at all phases of married life, listening to the will of God and ministering to his wife and adopted son Jesus Christ. 

Our Blessed Mother serves as the model of perfect motherhood, humility, and charity in her acceptance of the will of God to bear the Christ Child and become the Mother of God. Her perfect obedience serves as a model of holiness and simplicity we are all called to imitate and embrace. 


Holy Family Parish

A distinctive charism that the Holy Family intimately reveals to us is their openness to serve. 

Published (until 12/18/2035)