O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Taking this prayer down to a simple sentence, we ask God to enable us to imitate the virtues and the love of the Holy Family.
Virtue is defined as a good habit that enables a person to act according to right reason enlightened by faith. A virtue makes its possessor a good person and his or her actions also good. (Catholic Dictionary)
What virtues are important for family life? Love, hope, dignity, forgiveness, tact (I didn’t know tact is a virtue, but a whole lot of us could use more of it.) There is a great list of virtues on the website, Virtues For Life.
But there’s one thing that makes the virtues stand together, and that is a bond, or binding, of love (charity).
There are two options for the Second Reading at Mass this weekend. One option is from Colossians chapter 3, where Paul gives a list of vices to root from our lives. He also gives a list of virtues to replace them, and what does Paul say ties the virtues together? We read in verse 14, “And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection."
St John Chrysostom wrote, “Now what Paul wishes to say is that there is no benefit in those things, for all those things fall apart, unless they are done with love. This is the love that binds them all together.”
When love is present, we have no desire to do evil to someone. When love is present, we have the mindset of Christ, to do good to one another.
This week’s Collect reminds us of the importance to practice these virtues. With the help of the Holy Family, and following their example to become like them, we can spend eternity in God’s house with the rest of the family.
Lectio the Liturgy: This week, spend sometime with Colossians 3:5-17. As we look forward to a new year, what new virtue is God asking you to perfect? Remember as you read the virtues in verses 12-13, that God WILL give you the grace for them!