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Catholic Activity: Feast of the Holy Family - II

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The Sunday within the octave of Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Family. Our family life becomes sanctified when we live the life of the Church in our home. We become the "church in miniature" or the "domestic church." This day we should meditate on the Epistle or Second Reading from Paul to the Colossians, 3:12-21. Also singing Ubi Caritas et Amor or Where Charity and Love Prevail as good meditations on how we should treat members of our family.

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The Church has chosen the Sunday within the octave of Epiphany as the Feast of the Holy Family and as a day for the restoration of the true spirit of family life. Americans and Canadians should be rightly proud of this feast. It is North American in origin, founded in Montreal in 1663. The Mass and Office of the day give Christian parents an opportunity to pray that their family life may be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Family life becomes sanctified when parents carry out St. John Chrysostom's plea to make each home a family church. This idea may seem far-fetched. Yet Christians fulfill the sacrament of Matrimony in their homes. Penance and Holy Eucharist are administered in the home in times of sickness, as is Extreme Unction. In danger of death, a newborn baby may receive Baptism at home.

It is in today's Epistle that families will find norms for shaping Christ-like lives.

Brethren, put on therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience. Bear with one another and forgive one another, if anyone has a grievance against any other; even as the Lord has forgiven you, so also do you forgive. But above all these things have charity which is the bond of perfection. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts; unto that peace, indeed, you were called in one body. Show yourselves thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly; in all wisdom teach and admonish one another by psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing in your hearts to God by his grace. Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
On this Feast of the Holy Family, we vary the usual Christmastide prayers by using the following hymn. The sentiments expressed make it peculiarly appropriate as a Christian family song.

UBI CARITAS ET AMOR — "Where Abideth Charity and Love" Where abideth charity and love, God is ever there. All together one in love of Christ, our blessed Lord. Let us sing in exsultation of one accord. Live we in holy fear and gentle love our life in God. And give we to one another our hearts truly. (Repeat first line)

And whenever we come together in mind heart There is no fear of quarreling among us to drive apart. Cease all angry thoughts and bitter words, all evils end. And Christ, our Brother, comes to live among us, our Guest and Friend. Where abideth charity and love, God is ever there.

Activity Source: Christmas to Candlemas in a Catholic Home by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota

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