As we head into spring, I draw your attention to Holy Family Hill which is part of the south lawn of the Our Lady, Patroness of America Center’s 62-acre pilgrimage site. This hill which is elevated about 30 feet above the surrounding lawn and fields is a place where many pilgrims experience in a special way, Our Lady’s consolation and peace. On the top of the hill is a statue of the Holy Family and an area where pilgrims gather to say the Rosary.
In keeping with the devotion to Our Lady, the Immaculate Virgin, Patroness of America wherein there is focus on the Holy Family as the perfect example of living a life of purity, the Center maintains the hill so that pilgrims can pray and meditate on the mystery of the Holy Family.
The feast day of the Holy Family is the first Sunday after Christmas. On Christmas the Savior is born into humanity as fruit of Our Lady’s fiat. She is the singular one in whom is joined Divinity with humanity, mystically and physically. In her God accomplishes the Hypostatic Union and creation is forever changed by the presence of Christ. She alone was chosen to clothe Her Divine Son Jesus in his humanity! On Christmas the mystery of the Incarnation is made manifest.
The Holy Family is also made manifest at the moment of Christ’s birth. So many miracles at Christmas! The next Sunday after Christmas the Church points to the Holy Family. So, what is the Church emphasizing by placing these two great Solemnities side-by-side?
Our Lady, in this devotion to the Immaculate Virgin, Patroness of America (Our Lady of America), asks us to seek purity in our hearts and in our lives. She points to the Holy Family as the perfect example of what it means to seek this purity and live a holy life. The life of the Holy Family is the perfect practice of the Virtues and avoidance of all vices. They are the model of which we would do well to imitate.
Oh, if only we could be part of the Holy Family too! Perhaps?
As our Lord completed his Passion on the Cross, he gives His Mother, Our Lady to Saint John to be his mother, and he gives Saint John to His Mother to be her son (John 19:26-27). Catholic teaching says that St. John is the stand in for all Christians and that we too are sons and daughters of the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God.
In this moment she is given to us as Our Mother, and we as her children in a familiar relationship. She is the Mother of Christians, the Church and all seeking salvation. It is evident that through this Divine Decree of Our Lord, we are members of the Holy Family too. O, such graces that are given to us her children, the adopted sons and daughters of the Holy Family!
The mystery does not end there…
For Our Lady, to be chosen as the Mother of Christ is an unimaginable privilege and obligation, requiring someone of perfect holiness and absolute humility. But there are other extraordinary titles of Our Lady in addition to her title as Mother of God. She is also the Daughter of the Father and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, in addition to the Mother of the Son. Our Lady has a familiar relationship with each Person of the Holy Trinity.
So, there is the Holy Family on Earth consisting of the Son of God, Our Lady, Mother of God and St. Joseph the Protector of the Redeemer. And in Heaven there is the Divine Family revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each of which individually and collectively have a familiar, yet different relationship with Our Lady. While she is not divine, she has been adopted into the Divine Family.
Now comes into focus that Our Lady has a familiar relationship with each Person of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And as her children we have a familiar relationship with her. Our Lady is the non-divine connection between the Divine Family, the Holy Family and us her adopted children!
Our familiar relationship with Our Lady, extends to us her familiar relationship with the Holy Trinity. Albeit to a lesser degree than the Blessed Virgin Mary’s, but through her we too have a familiar relationship with the Holy Trinity. What a mystery! What an immense gift of Grace!
How does it feel to know you are a member of the Holy Family and have a familiar relationship with the Holy Trinity? Awesome, Graced, Daunting, Unbelievable?
In this devotion Our Lady is calling us to imitate the Holy Family. Not only so that we can be made worthy of the promises of Christ, but also that we may lead others to salvation, just as the Holy Family does. To this Our Lady is calling us, to imitate the Holy Family in all things, including the calling of souls to Christ.
There is a corollary to human adoption. When a child, particularly one of the age of reason is adopted into a family there is a period of adjustment and assimilation where the new member is taught, formed and instructed to live to the standards of their new family. It is no different for our adoption into the Holy Family. The question for each of us is whether we eagerly embrace the love and standards of our new family, or in rebellion refuse the loving gifts being offered. The choice is ours.
The devotion to Our Lady of America calls us to assimilate into the Holy Family by imitation, prayer, sacraments, and desire. Our Lady call us to join and participate in the immense graces that she enjoys.
Pray for the Grace to be worthy of your adoption into the Holy Family and connection to the Holy Trinity. Our Lady will teach and form you if you are willing.
On your next pilgrimage, be sure to visit Holy Family Hill. It is indeed a special place and integral to the mission of the Our Lady, Patroness of America Center.