Family Time

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who places the solitary in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ~Book of Common Prayer

It is the Divine order that all people live in families. We all have our natural families. We also have our Church family. Yes, the Church is a family. Within that family, the local parish is analogous to our immediate family. It is here where we learn and grow and interact with those closest to us. We rejoice together, and sometimes we weep together. And then, there is the extended family visible in our Ordinariate. We sometimes get visits from our family patriarch, the bishop, who gives us fatherly encouragement and council. Our family expands to include the Roman Catholic Church in its worldwide reach, the fellowship of all believers, and even the communion of the saints. We live in quite a family.

With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting so many, schools, restaurants, and other businesses have closed. Other businesses have asked their employees to work from home. It is an opportunity for all of us to focus on doing what families do: Care for one another. Find ways to have fun. Teach our family’s children. And, find ways to reach out to our friends and neighbors through phone calls, facetime, and notes left on our neighbors’ doors.

This is a very confusing time. But one thing is not confusing. God is still God. He has never left us nor has he forsaken us. Therefore, we should not forsake each other.

What is your focus?

“O cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall nourish thee.” (Psalm 55:22)

When I was in graduate school at the University of Dallas, I used to ride my bicycle to school. To avoid heavily trafficked streets, I would take shortcuts using drainage ditches and storm culverts. Once I noticed a large rock ahead of me that I wanted to avoid. I focused on the rock, telling myself, “Be sure and miss that rock.” Of course, I hit the rock and took a tumble.

We are naturally drawn to that which we focus on. When our life has trouble, we have choices. If we focus on the trouble, we will naturally be drawn deeper into the problem. Even small problems can become insurmountable if we dwell on our burden. But, if we focus on Jesus who overcame death, we find peace and strength to overcome our problems. Often, I find that when I stop fretting about troubles and look to Jesus for help, an inspiration will come that helps me out of my troubles.

Everyone I know has burdens. They may be in the form of health challenges, physical limitations, financial issues, relationship struggles, or even addiction. Our burdens can seem overwhelming. But Jesus carried our burdens to the cross. Give your burden to Jesus. Let him nourish you.

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7