Sunday, December 30, 2012


Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS

Scripture tells us practically nothing about the first years and the boyhood of the Child Jesus. All we know are the facts of the sojourn in Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the incidents that occurred when the twelve-year-old boy accompanied his parents to Jerusalem. In her Liturgy the Church hurries over this period of Christ's life with equal brevity.

The general breakdown of the family, however, at the end of the past century and at the beginning of our own, prompted the popes, especially the far-sighted Leo XIII, to promote the observance of this feast with the hope that it might instill into Christian families something of the faithful love and the devoted attachment that characterize the family of Nazareth. The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families.
                                        -Excerpted from With Christ Through the Year, Rev. Bernard Strasser, O.S.B.

In a beautiful address on December 28, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the life of the Holy Family in Nazareth.  "The house of Nazareth is a school of prayer where we learn to listen, to meditate, to penetrate the deepest meaning of the manifestation of the Son of God, drawing our example from Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

Br.McGrath again

The Holy Family is an icon of the domestic Church, which is called to pray together. The family is the first school of prayer where, from their infancy, children learn to perceive God thanks to the teaching and example of their parents. An authentically Christian education cannot neglect the experience of prayer. If we do not learn to pray in the family, it will be difficult to fill this gap later. I would, then, like to invite people to rediscover the beauty of praying together as a family, following the school of the Holy Family of Nazareth".

My personal Christmas card this year was taken when I went over the mountains to the  funeral of my friend Les in October.  Fortunately, I had the camera in hand just as the Steller's jay landed on St. Joseph's head.  I love the statue, as Joseph, who is so often portrayed as an old man (maybe he was a few years older than Mary but....) is here shown as a virile protector of Mother and Child, of Wife and Son.  The jay, true to aloof form almost seems to be watching out for this Family.

A few weeks before my trip, the Shaw Birding club, which this year studied crows and won Best of Show at the county fair for their project (see 8/27/12), decided to study the Steller's jay for their 2013 project (more on this later). Coincidence?  I think not!

Our Lady of the Snows- Leavenworth, WA

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