"The family is the domestic Church and must be the first school of prayer. It is in the family that children, from the tenderest age, can learn to perceive the meaning of God, also thanks to the teaching and example of their parents: to live in an atmosphere marked by God’s presence. An authentically Christian education cannot dispense with the experience of prayer. If one does not learn how to pray in the family it will later be difficult to bridge this gap. And so I would like to address to you the invitation to pray together as a family at the school of the Holy Family of Nazareth and thereby really to become of one heart and soul, a true family."
(General Audience of Pope Benedict XVI, Feast of the Holy Family, December 28, 2011)
“In the first place it teaches us silence. Oh! If only esteem for silence, a wonderful and indispensable spiritual atmosphere, could be reborn within us! Whereas we are deafened by the din, the noise and discordant voices in the frenetic, turbulent life of our time. O silence of Nazareth! Teach us to be steadfast in good thoughts, attentive to our inner life, ready to hear God’s hidden inspiration clearly and the exhortations of true teachers.”To be a domestic church, our homes and lives must cultivate this "wonderful and indispensable spiritual atmosphere" that encourages meditation, and adoration of our Lord. Technology and unnecessary activity inhibit our ability to think of God in our daily life, to "ponder all these things" in our hearts as our Blessed Mother so often did. This cacophony distracts us from becoming "just men" like Saint Joseph:
"A just man, (Psalm 1) tells us is one who maintains living contact with the word of God, who 'delights in the law of the Lord' (v.2). He is like a tree, planted beside the flowing waters, constantly bringing forth fruit. The flowing waters, from which he draws nourishment, naturally refer to the living word of God, into which he sinks the roots of his being."*We cannot allow the anxieties produced by the culture to wreak havoc on the peace of our souls and families. Prayer must be an essential part of our daily life. Devotions cannot be done as routine traditions but as acts of love; acts that are woven throughout the day in a spirit of love. We can imagine the happy quietude spent by the Holy Family, the constant self-sacrifice and acts of love done for one another, permeated by the presence of God Himself. Let us strive to allow Christ to dwell in our hearts and homes by seeking this spirit of quietude. And let us prepare our homes this Advent to be a domestic church where God is reverenced, adored and loved in our all our thoughts, words and actions.
*Jesus of Nazareth, Vol.III, Pope Benedict XVI