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Family Life Prepares Us for God's Call

The story of Jesus in the Temple tells us that one’s primary family is not our only goal. Another responsibility, one for which our family can prepare us, is the call to follow God in fulfilling our unique mission. In responding to God’s call, we sometimes feel it necessary to do something that will not be understood by family members. Responding to this inner urge can be difficult, especially when close bonds tie together family members. Indeed, the decisions we make as a result of God’s call may cause other family members turmoil and may even lead to ruptured relationships.

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We Must Be Poor in Spirit

Being poor does not, in itself, guarantee inner freedom. Poor people can be imprisoned by bitter and resentful feelings. To become spiritually free, we must first become poor in spirit by trusting God, no matter what life brings. To be poor in spirit requires an attitude of simplicity, as we open our arms and heart, like a trusting child, to our ever present, loving God.

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The Eucharist Is about Love

We become holy through love, and the Eucharist is about love. Because of Jesus’s love for us, he gave himself as an offering. In doing so, he freed us from the bonds of sin and bestowed on us the gift of freedom. Love and freedom are closely related. The Eucharist is a thanksgiving celebration for Jesus’s love, poured out to gain freedom for all humankind.

— from the book Your [Imperfect] Holy Family

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Living Gospel Values Every Day

Often, the desire to reach out to others begins in our home. Gospel values need to be incorporated into day-to-day family life as much as they need to be lived out by God’s larger family. The simplicity needed to appreciate God’s love helps us appreciate how our immediate families connect with God’s larger family. All earthly families merge and find their common identity in God.

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We Move Toward Salvation Together

Holy people testify to God’s holiness. Alone, humans cannot show God’s holiness. Too much evil, injustice, and pain exist in the world for individuals alone to manifest God’s goodness. That is why the Hebrew Scriptures say that we are saved together. In this process, we need God’s grace. The communal dimension of God’s salvation is felt most strongly in family bonds. Family members need one another as they move toward salvation.

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Holy Families Are Sources of Hope

Every family is a work in progress, but each one can move toward wholeness. Circumstances differ, but every family needs peace, love, and trust. Christian hope springs from belief in God’s presence during life’s high and low points. In the struggle for wholeness, families become holy and generate holiness in others. Holy families, not perfect families, are sources of hope to those facing dark and painful times.

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We are Franciscan Media, a sponsored ministry of the Franciscan friars of St. John the Baptist Province. We strive to inspire a loving world that embraces the Franciscan spirit of harmony, joy, and simplicity. May our resources renew your spirit as we share God’s love in the spirit of St. Francis.

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