The month of July includes two important feasts in the Catholic Church – The Feast of the Precious Blood of Our Lord and The Visitation of Our Lady. We are blessed as Catholics to follow such a beautiful liturgical calendar throughout the year, and the month of July is no exception, but as families attempting to live in the world, but not of the world, it isn’t always easy working daily towards our eternal goal. It is evident throughout history that the family was the foundation of society, but we are now thrown into a culture that no longer values this institution. Instead of living on the defensive, we must become beacons light among an insecure world and there’s no better model than the Holy Family. Let’s admire and imitate the Holy Family as they comprised a gentleness, a humility, true charity, and a life of prayer that led them towards the glories of heaven.

"Living Alongside the Holy Family" by Danielle Heckencamp ( Copyright 2017 Danielle Heckenkamp. All rights reserved.

Gentleness & Humility

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph each exhibited a gentle demeanor as they traveled through this life on earth while following God’s Will. There is no better path towards heaven then aiming to fulfill the Will of God each day of our lives. It isn’t this black and white most of the time, but given our vocations as wives and/or mothers, our paths have been placed before us quite definitively. The only variance is how we can use our individual temperaments and talents to achieve sainthood for ourselves and our families.

The Holy Family is truly the pinnacle of gentleness and humility as they each followed their God-given roles while on this earth. St. Joseph remained steadfast and protected the family not only physically by leading the family into Egypt, but also spiritually by sharing in the creative work of God. Mary, conceived without Original Sin, also accepted the Will of God through her faith and trust in her husband, St. Joseph. And the most perfect of the three, Our Lord and Savior who was also God and Man, followed the Will of His Father by walking alongside Our Lady and St. Joseph for thirty years before His public life. For there is no greater form of humility than God succumbing to humanity in order to open the gates of heaven through His love.

Gentleness is a way of living – it is consistency. St. Joseph and Our Lady lived each day with only one thought and that was of God. Their purpose on this earth was to fulfill the Will of God and so should we, as parents, accept this role and live each day without straying. It takes humility to accept our vocation with the eventful days and the monotonous days. Our current world is always planning the next big event. Whether it’s Fourth of July Festivities, Back to School Sales, or Christmas Parties, but it’s impossible to find the world celebrating the seemingly “insignificant” daily tasks. These are the necessary duties to live from each day to the next that composite the Christian life. As moms, it’s seems a little ridiculous to throw a party after washing the dishes or folding the sixth load of laundry, but that doesn’t mean we can’t perform these tasks with love for our families and in union with the Will of God. If we examined the daily lives of the Holy Family, there were few momentous occasions before Jesus took to public life. That was thirty years of necessary daily undertakings. There are days when we just can’t muster up enough strength to fold that sixth load of laundry, but if we strive to remain gentle and humble among our family and in our love for the Lord, He will give us the strength to not only fold that last towel, but to earn graces in the process.

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“True greatness of the soul is in loving God and in humility.” ~ St. Faustina Kowalsksa

"Living Alongside the Holy Family" by Danielle Heckencamp ( Copyright 2017 Danielle Heckenkamp. All rights reserved.

Charity & Prayer

It is known that charity is the highest of all the virtues as it is the first of the theological virtues and is the root of all other virtues. Jesus said in Matthew 22: 37-39:

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

When Our Lord stated this great commandment, he was well aware of the trials that would arise in practicing such a love. Yet, the Holy Family exemplified this great love in their own home. True love is to serve, just as Our Lord allowed the Crucifixion and Ascension – it was the ultimate sacrifice of love. So, too, the Holy Family served God and each other during their lives on earth. And each one of them continue to serve our souls as they bask in the glories of heaven. There is no greater intercessor for our pleas than Our Lady who can place those petitions at the feet of her Son. Her loving Son cannot refuse His mother if it is in accordance with the Will of God. St. Joseph remains the steadfast intercessor of all the faithful’s prayers. His life did not consist of momentous occasions, yet he remains the dutiful foster-father of Jesus – a true role model for all Christian fathers.

As much as our world talks about love, it fails to find the one missing link: prayer. For without prayer to unite our hearts, minds, and souls to God, there can be no true charity. Instead, it becomes a selfish love with only personal achievements as an end. Therefore, we have been given perfect examples through the Holy Family on living a charitable life of prayer and sacrifice. Let us embrace the Church of Christ and cling close to the sacraments that will lead us through charity towards heaven.

Instead of finding other families to compare ourselves to on social media or in our neighborhood, we must find the ultimate form of family perfection. As one of my favorite Catholic moms, Kathryn Whitaker, said on Instagram recently, “your only family comparison should be the Holy Family.” This statement resonated so deeply with me that I needed to share it with all moms. We must no longer attempt to survive each day of our lives. We must thrive by focusing on the gentleness, humility, charity, and prayer life of the Holy Family and use them as a role model while traveling this winding path towards heaven.

"Living Alongside the Holy Family" by Danielle Heckencamp ( Copyright 2017 Danielle Heckenkamp. All rights reserved.

“Whatever you do for your family, for your children, for your husband, for your wife, you do for God. All we do, our prayers, our works, our suffering, is for Jesus.” ~ St. Teresa of Calcutta

Copyright 2017 Danielle Heckenkamp