The Traditional Calendar today celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. As the explanation of today's feast in the Traditional Missal recalls, the Holy Family at Nazareth teaches us lessons which are of crucial importance at the present time - that family life is holy and of divine institution, that manual labour is honourable, and that poverty is no disgrace.
For the last few years, we have been following the traditional custom of keeping our small in-house Nativity Crib set up in the lounge until the Feast of the Presentation in February. It can be very helpful as an aid and encouragement to prayer; as well as a consolation when all the other Christmas decorations have been removed in the chilled and grey days of January!
Last night, as we were about to begin praying the Rosary in front of our household Crib, Angeline suddenly got up and said: ''Do you mind if I rearrange this a bit? There are too many kings in the way and I can't see Jesus!''
Although this was a momentary distraction, and something which seemed quite ordinary at the time, the deeper aspects of her words dawned on me, whilst we prayed through the Joyful Mysteries as part of the First Saturday devotion.
How true it is that there are many secular ''kings'' who have tried to supplant Jesus in the hearts of the faithful through the ages.
Then again, how sad that even many leaders in the Church are now attempting to dethrone Christ and - forgetting that they were only made Princes of the Church in order to draw others to Him - are trying to replace Him with their own worldly ''kingships'' and faulty ideas.
And again, is it not too often the case that we ourselves prefer other ''kings'' to be lords in our own lives, rather than Jesus Christ the Universal King? None of us can honestly say that we are exempt from such sinful tendencies. Due to our concupiscent nature, we even use good things in selfish ways. How much we rely on God's grace and goodness!
And yet, therein lies the Good News: in spite of all the coldness and unwelcome of our fickle hearts, the Infant King lovingly breaks into our lives and calls us to love Him again in return. We need to remove the false ''kings'' from our hearts; and discern how to rightly order the good ''kings'' that can help us to serve Christ more faithfully.
Here is a traditional little prayer to the Holy Family, which might help us in that regard. It is highly recommended as a daily prayer throughout one's earthly pilgrimage.
Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, I give Thee my heart and my soul!
Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, assist me in my last agony!
Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with Thee!
We wish you a Blessed Feast of the Holy Family!