When we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth, we surely think about our own families. We are likely to think first of our biological families. That’s nearly obvious.
But we might also think of other families too. We might think, for example, of our family at the work place; our classroom family; our team squad family; our religious order/community family; our ‘njangi’ group family; our action/prayer group family. In fact, we can think of many types of associations in which we belong in terms of family.
Therefore, thinking about the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, is thinking about ourselves in more ways than one. It is a way to look at them as an ideal family, and to seek out ways of emulating this family, and patterning ours after it.
However, when we think about our own various families, we immediately become conscious of their short-comings and imperfections. We instantly realise how far they are from the ideal. Sometimes we have to bear the frustrations of never being able to meet up with what we hope our family could be.
Often, we feel or think that the other family members are responsible for the bad state of affairs. We might be prone to think that the family, whatever family it is, would be better, if this or that family member were a little better or different. That may be true; but we can also have another consideration.
Many aids have been offered to help make family life better and improve our families. This is just a little thought which, we hope, might add to the other aids. We hope it can be helpful. This is, namely, a reflection by each family member on their own individual weaknesses.
One form of blindness is to lack consciousness of our own personal weaknesses. It can be a great help for each family member to reflect on their own personal weakness. This is because when we become aware of how and where we are weak, or in fact, just that we are weak at all, we might realise the need to be more tolerant on other family members. This is not to say we ought to condone with situations, but rather, that we be conscious that like us, others make mistakes as well.
Few years ago Pope Francis reminded us that there is no perfect family. Yes, of course; there is none. All families are made up of human beings. And human beings have weaknesses. The imperfection of a family would not exactly be a mathematical sum of the imperfections of the individual members. But definitely the weakness(es) of each member count(s)for something in the imperfect nature of a family.
It can really help
If we are conscious that like others, we too fall short in one aspect or another, if we are conscious of our own weaknesses, we are likely to be more understanding when others fall short. Then as a family, we can journey towards perfection of the family, and of the individual members, by trying to overcome those weaknesses and encouraging other family members to do same.
Let us, therefore, reflect on our own weaknesses in view of being tolerant, as an aid to improving on our various types of families. It can also help us to be more forgiving.
This was first published on Facebook on 30 December 2016