Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family (Traditional calendar) which this year (2023), so happens to fall on the first Sunday after Epiphany. In the standard liturgical calendar, the feast falls within the octave of Christmas on January 30th. The feast celebrates the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, as well as the importance of family life in the Church and society.
St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, wrote, "the family is the first society to which a person belongs and the first school in which he or she learns to live in society." Augustine understood the critical role that families play in the upbringing and formation of children, and the importance of family for society to properly function. Without a sound and stable family environment, society itself will begin to breakdown.
The Holy Family is the highest model of the Church itself and the perfect example for all families to follow. It demonstrates the virtues of obedience and respect/ honor towards our parents. "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them."
In addition to attending Mass, one way that the faithful can celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family is to reflect on the role that family plays in one's own life. Prayers for your own family or for the families of others are always efficacious and are spiritual acts of charity. Exercising ways strengthen the bonds of love and unity within one's own family is another great way to observe the feast day.
Another way to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family is to reflect on the teachings of the Church on the importance of family life. Reading passages from the Bible or from the writings of the saints or other theologians on the subject of family are great ways to educate oneself on the vocation of family/ parenting. Additionally, learning more about the Church's teachings on the role of the family in society and in the life of the individual are ways to observe the feast day and also provide immediately actionable ways to increase holiness and sanctity within the family.
Let us reflect on the example of the Holy Family and implement ways to imitate their holy lives. This not only greatly pleases Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but by making effort to to follow their example, we can merit many graces for our own families, which will serve to better assist us in leading our spouses and children to Heaven. Below are several prayers to the Holy Family that you may find useful. PAX+
~ A Prayer to the Holy Family for Patience ~
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, like you, we are members of the Father's family. We pray that our family love may reflect His love on its openness to all people. May we forgive even when not forgiven, and be patient with others' weaknesses.
Jesus, give us peace, unity and strength to meet the difficulties of daily living. May we use our family resources to improve the quality of life for ourselves and all people. Let us show joy in serving, for whatever we do for others, we do for You.
Mary, inspire us, that our love may be strong but not possessive. Let our willingness to give depend upon the needs of others rather than on the cost of giving.
Joseph, help us to be attentive to the father's will. Let us be ready, as you were, to act whenever He calls us. Amen.
~ Another Prayer to the Holy Family ~
Grant unto us, Lord Jesus, ever to follow the example of Thy Holy Family, that in the hour of our death Thy glorious Virgin Mother,
together with Saint Joseph, may come to meet us, and we may be worthily received by Thee into everlasting life.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.