Many years ago, when my husband and I were in Germany, we were given a…
Our Restore Retreats often include an experiential activity where each person is invited to a moment of encounter with the Holy Family. We ask Jesus, Mary and Joseph to provide an experience for each individual, bringing correction to a particular moment of wounding in their family of origin or providing what was missing for them in their family (i.e.: a father’s protection, a mother’s tender care and attentiveness).
As I’ve been reflecting on our final Restore retreat of 2023 (Nov 2-5; a beautiful, transformative experience!), I wanted to re-publish this article I originally wrote back in 2021. In it I invite you to prayerfully ponder the healing encounter(s) you may need with the Holy Family. Their homestead of perfect love is offered to you and to me, to become our interior homestead. At any moment of the day we can rest interiorly, in the presence of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We are welcome in their home.
A dozen little hands shot into the air in my son’s Kindergarten classroom. They were engaged in a lesson about St. Joseph and were brainstorming with their teacher about life in the holy home in Nazareth.
“What do you think Jesus helped Joseph build in their carpentry shop?”
“What kind of chores did Jesus have to do?”
“What did Joseph, Mary and Jesus do in the evenings after dinner?”
The kids’ vision of “a day in the life” of the Holy Family included milking the cow, working in the garden, building chairs, and playing the harp. Ahh, a vision of peace, companionship, and simple joy at home.
At our recent “Restore” retreat, the stories of home life shared, conveyed a reality in stark contrast to life in the holy home in Nazareth. Some grew up in homes where respect was absent, with ridicule and mockery the norm. Others were taught – implicitly or explicitly – that being agreeable and not needing anything is the way to earn others’ affection or approval. Many were rejected rather than embraced, criticized rather than cherished, abused rather than shown healthy affection. And you yourself have a story of growing up in an imperfect household, and facing, to some degree or another, human dysfunction and sinfulness.
Co-heirs with Christ
We are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – Romans 8: 16-17
Everything that belongs to Jesus belongs to you and to me. We are co-heirs with Christ. I most often think of this in terms of my identity as beloved child of God the Father and in what lies ahead: a special place prepared just for me in His heavenly home, where I will spend eternity with God.
It is just as true that being a co-heir with Christ means that every moment of His early life in Nazareth can be mine too. I have an access pass to the holy family and all that went on in their home in Nazareth. Just like the Kindergarteners, you can envision (i.e.: pray about, meditate upon) a day in the life of the Holy Family, with you there as their special guest. Allow their homestead of perfect love to become your interior homestead. It is a graced truth that at any moment of the day we can rest interiorly, in the presence of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We are welcome in their home. In fact, as co-heirs with Christ, it is my home too. It is your home too.
Where within you needs to experience the peace and simplicity of that holy home?
What moment of your early life needs the loving touch of an attentive father? A tender mother gently stroking your hair or rubbing your back?
St. Joseph and our Blessed Mother, in a very real way, are here and available to you. Their loving presence and attentiveness are here for you. They can provide what you did not receive in your own family of origin: acceptance, unconditional love, healthy affection, being listened to and shown respect.
Opening to and receiving their love can bring healing to our hearts, overcoming the pain of rejection, abandonment, criticism, or ridicule.
Let us put ourselves there now. Close your eyes and envision yourself in that holy home. Feel yourself enfolded in their healthy family dynamics. Notice the compassion in St. Joseph’s eyes – for you. Notice the way Mary looks at you with such tender love and understanding. Notice the mutual respect that Mary and Joseph have for one another, and how safe you feel in their bond of love. Snuggle in with Jesus as Mary sings the two of you a lullaby.
Visit this holy home often in your prayer and meditation. It is all there for you; creating within you an interior homestead of peace, familial closeness and deep loving care. We can’t change the past or erase the adverse events that may have happened in our family of origin. But we can create new memories of home now by spending prayerful time in the holy home in Nazareth. Our new memories of home mingle with the old memories of home, forever changing the impact they have on us.
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the Lord will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
‘Repairer of the breach,’ they shall call you, ‘Restorer of ruined homesteads.’ – Isaiah 58:6-12
Thank You Jesus, my Savior, Redeemer, Repairer and Restorer. I bring each pain-filled moment of my early life, yet in need of Your healing touch to You, together with Mary and Joseph. What a blessing it is to visit Your holy home and to rest there with You. Dear, tender Mother Mary and dear, faithful St. Joseph, may the homestead of perfect love you provided your Son be my interior homestead. Amen.
Copyright 2023, De Yarrison