Treasure your Family: Thanksgiving

Friends in Christ, today our country celebrates Thanksgiving. A number of people recently have complained about stores being opened and the mad shopping frenzy beginning today. The most often heard comment is: ‘It’s a day for families!’
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It is true that in this busy world, Thanksgiving seems to be a day when families actually are all home for a meal. The modern American household often has so many activities – kids sports, choir practice, night classes, bowling league – sometimes people say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ as they are grabbing a sandwich or a leg of chicken, and out the door!
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Today is an opportune day for us to ask the question: ‘Are we valuing the members of our family and nurturing our family in the way that God wishes?’
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Jesus says, ‘Your treasure is where your heart is.’ Well, if our family is our treasure, are we nurturing it rightly? Father Fernandez[i] says that to live family life properly we must spend time:
– Try to protect the family meal-time, so that every one can be together and speak in a relaxed way about everything.
– Take the time to celebrate family occasions and anniversaries.
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It isn’t enough to only have general good-will toward our family members, we must make it overt, we must SHOW our love for our children, spouse, and siblings. A home should not be lacking in hugs and kisses, and opportunities to just sit and talk.
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If you haven’t noticed, the family is under attack these days. The spirit of the world is trying to undermine the family. This is why the Holy Father is having a double-synod – on the family. It is why in the United States, we are hosting the World Meeting of Families. Mother Church knows that the family is the most critical foundation of society, and it is suffering. The best way of defending our family is by means of lots of human affection, and by making God present in our home.
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An extended family was having a very large celebration at a restaurant, their little girl goes to our school. The mother told me, ‘Father, I was so proud of my daughter. The waitress was bringing the food and everyone was starting to eat, when our 6 year old stood up and yelled ‘Stop!’ Everyone looked at her, and she said, ‘We have to pray.’
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Our children sometimes remind us, but really, we are supposed to be reminding them, to pray in the morning, at every meal, and how beautiful for a family to pray night prayers together at a home-altar shrine.
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Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton was known as the Rosary Priest, promoting the family rosary as a means of sanctifying the home. It was he who always said: ‘The family that prays together stays together.’
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Perhaps this Thanksgiving Day we can think of how we can bring the love of God, and a lot more affection into our home.

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[i] Conversation with God, V3, p. 630

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