"The Holy Family is the beginning of countless other holy families," said Pope John Paul II. In 1995, he gave Our Lady the title "Queen of Families," so we should feel comfortable asking for her help with all the cares and concerns of family life. On today's Feast of the Holy Family, we can ask with special intensity, "Mary, Queen of Families, pray for us!"
We can also ask ourselves how the Holy Family can inspire us to be better husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. Instead of wondering What Would Jesus Do, try thinking about What Would the Holy Family do. St. Joseph may be the first place to start. Jesus was divine, and his mother was sinless, but St. Joseph was an ordinary human being like the rest of us. How do you think he treated his wife and his son? How did he lead and protect them in spite of his ordinariness?
Imagine what it would feel like if the Holy Family invited you to their house for dinner. Picture the table, the food, the expressions on their faces. Maybe Mary made an excellent meal, or maybe she enjoyed a good laugh at her own expense if she became lost in prayer and overcooked the meat. Maybe the conversation centered on God and the Scriptures, or maybe on what had happened in the village that day. Maybe what the Holy Family most wanted was to listen to you and get to know you. People who met John Paul II frequently noticed that the pope treated them, for those few minutes, like the only person in the world. Isn't it possible the Holy Family would do the same? How would that make you feel? And how would your family feel if you paid that kind of focussed attention to them? Let these thoughts lead you into prayer, and then back into the world with the resolution to make your family life a little holier, a little more like theirs.
Also, please also don't forget to pray for other families today. This feast marks the beginning of the U.S. bishops' Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage & Religious Liberty, which will last until the feast of Christ the King (Nov. 24, 2013). Today would be a good day to recite with your family The Bishops' Prayer in Defense of Marriage. May you have a blessed feast day!