Being a Holy Family is a Choice
On this Feast of the Holy Family we should ask ourselves: What makes a family holy? The primary answer is a Holy God. More specifically holiness is achieved through two things: Consecration and Cooperation. Consecration means setting something apart for God’s purpose. For example, a building built by engineers and contractors is later declared a church through a sacred act of consecration by a bishop. Oil that could be used to add flavor to a salad or flexibility to a piece of wood is used to consecrate an infant or adult convert priest, prophet or king in baptism. When a man and woman bring their love and their relationship to the altar of God they set themselves apart from all other relationships to serve God’s plan and purpose. When parents bring their children to be baptized they are setting them apart to be “possessed” by the Spirit of Holiness and inhabited by the Holy Trinity.
While God can set aside any part of his creation to serve his plan and purpose (including oil. water, rosaries, crosses, chalices or bread and wine), he requires the cooperation of the human will for a human life to be consecrated to him. For us consecration requires a decision to accept the grace of holiness as the gift it is. For example, while the scriptures do say that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), we are still required to decide whether we will “glorify God in our bodies” (6:20)! The mother of Jesus said “Let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Joseph “did as the angel commanded and took Mary to be his wife” (Matthew 1:24) and Jesus was “obedient” to his parents (Luke 2:51) and certainly to his heavenly Father (Matthew 26:2). Holiness in an individual, a parish, or a family is not automatic. It requires a desire, a choice, and a willingness to surrender our lives into the saving hands of a thrice Holy God!