REFLECTIONS. Overview and extracts of Daily Thoughts May 2020

Wood carving of Mary and Joseph at Our Lady Assumed into Heaven, Sasolburg.

Apr 28, 2020

2020  MARFAM FAMILY YEAR PLANNER. Theme: OUR WORLD, A FAMILY OF FAMILIES  

DAILY THOUGHTS MAY: PARENTS FORM FAMILIES        

Overview: Whether it is a study of botany, biology, human physiology or spirituality the gift of co-creation with God in nature should be recognized as one of God’s greatest gifts.  It is the male and female in many areas of nature, a man and woman ideally through a loving committed relationship, who continue God’s creation as well as its sustenance and nurturance.  Human as well as animal parents have the task of forming and educating their offspring. This has taken different forms throughout history. An intimate bond is created by parenting figures and their offspring. The ideal of the love of their father and mother for each other too is an important gift to children. Effective human parenting is amongst the most complex relationships today because of changing conditions and values.  We dare not also forget the human capacity for good and evil seen so clearly in relationships. Unfortunately little training is offered for this all important task.

The gift of a new child entrusted by the Lord to a father and a mother, begins with acceptance, continues with lifelong protection and has as its final goal the joy of eternal life.  God allows parents to choose the name by which he himself will call their child for all eternity. AL166.   Only if we devote time to our children, speaking of important things with simplicity and concern and finding healthy ways for them to spend their time will we be able to shield them from harm.  Vigilance is always necessary and neglect is never beneficial. Parents have to help prepare their children and adolescents to confront the risks of aggression, abuse or drug addiction. AL260

Setting the Scene. Although the Covid-19 pandemic in many places has peaked and the situation is improving,it is certainly not abating yet and a resurgence is a possibility. What does the future hold?  Will God’s place and role in creation be acknowledged?   That is our task as parent figures and evangelisers, beginning in our homes. Greater awareness of our need for solidarity, human solidarity but also solidarity in creation.  As this month of May is traditionally Mary’s month families could pray the Rosary, or at least pray a Hail Mary or simple request to Mary as Comforter of the Sick to intercede for us.

May 1. St Joseph the worker.   Deacon Roger Sihlobo had been active in the trade union movement in the mining community where he lived. With other union members they were also involved in the Justice and Peace parish group.  On the feast of St Joseph the Worker they addressed a parenting workshop.  .  He told the members of the group that the Church had made its own contribution to workers’ rights for more than 100 years. While 1st May was adopted by communists as May Day or Workers’ Day, in 1955, by making it a commemoration of St Joseph the Worker, Pope Pius XII added the Catholic Christian dimension. This features in Church documents on workers’ rights and Catholic Social Teaching.  “But this is not just for us adults as workers alone, but also for us as parents to share with our children.   Is life too easy for some of them these days while thousands too are unemployed? What do you think?” he asked the group.

“Whatever your task work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward as you are serving the Lord Christ.  Col 3:24. Pope Francis:  Labour makes possible the development of society and provides for sustenance, stability and fruitfulness of one’s family. AL 24.  We can appreciate the suffering created by unemployment. AL25.

May 2.  Death in the family is a reality for everyone, but seldom has it been such a difficult and lonely time.  During the time of the coronavirus pandemic we hear every day of the number of infections and the numbers of deaths.  It is almost as if death has become a commonplace, but it can still be very traumatic when it affects a close family member, grandparent, parent, a child or a friend. Because of fear of infection the gravely ill most often die alone and family members are prevented from being with them to say goodbye. Maureen shared, “I believe that any kind of bereavement support is badly needed, even sending a whatsapp.”

Many of the disciples of Jesus said, “This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?”  Jesus answered them and added, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” John 6:60-69. Pope Francis:   At times family life is challenged by the death of a loved one.  We cannot fail to offer the light of faith as a support to families.   To turn our back on a grieving family would show a lack of mercy and mean the loss of a pastoral opportunity for evangelisation.   AL253

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