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December 31st, 2012by Fr. Rob Waller

What makes a family holy? Not the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, but our families?

When everyone is safe. When every member of the family is safe in the presence of every other member of the family. When no member of the family has any reason to be afraid of any other member of the family. When the family is truly a sanctuary, a holy place, a safe place, where everyone is free to laugh and to learn, that family is holy.

When everyone make sacrifices. When I realize that life is not about me, and you realize that life is not about you. When everyone is more ready to give than anxious to receive. When everyone focusses on their responsibilities to the family rather their rights in the family. When sacrifice is the usual mode of operation, that family is holy. 

When there is service. When the giving within the family extends to someone outside the family. When the caring that happens within the walls of the apartment, condo, house or church building reaches beyond the confines of the family’s house and home, that family is holy.

When someone in the family regularly wonders about what God thinks. When the family or at least someone in the family wonders about what God would say, what God is asking, what plan God has in mind, “We are planning to do things this way. We have this decision to make. This is the situation we are in. Does anyone have a good guess about what God might want us to do? We know what each of us thinks. What do you think God thinks?” When the family asks God for prompts, and is ready to set a plan, make a decision, address the situation according to what it seems like God would want, that family is holy.   

As some people wear a WWJD (“What would Jesus do?”) bracelet around the wrist, we could wrap an imaginary WDGT band around our head, “What does God think?” We’ll never be able to perfectly wrap our mind around what God thinks, but we can try. And then try again. And then try again. That is how we become holy. That is what makes a family a holy family.

Fr. Rob Waller

Father Rob Waller is pastor of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Milford, Ohio, in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He blogs at With Open Doors