A Family Affair

Summer is a time for family. It is a time for trips to beach or mountains, or any other natural recreation we have near where we live. It is a time for picnics and family games nights. It is a time late night strolls in the park with loved ones. It is also a time for prayer and devotion as a family.

I have written before about dedicating special time for the family to spend on spiritual growth opportunities, whether it is visiting monasteries or ‘just’ attending special services in the Church now that children are out of school. Any time we can gather as a family to grow closer to God is a blessing which should not be taken lightly. Our lives are growing busier with each year, and if we are not careful, we will find ourselves old and approaching death. Even then, old age won’t be too late.

Today is the Feast of Saint Lucillian of Byzantium who was martyred along with four children and a virgin named Paula. In his old age he became a Christian after leaving paganism where he had served as a priest. His old age didn’t stop him though, as he continually refused to stop professing his belief in Christ. After being beaten and hanged upside down, he was imprisoned with four young children, also Christians. None of them renounced their faith in Christ and were eventually killed. Finally, a virgin woman named Paula buried them, and she too was killed for her faith.

Although these glorious examples of faith were not related, it reminded me of our family struggles in the faith. Some of us develop our love for Christ late in life, while others remain steadfast from a young age. We even gather every week in the Church, and still do not recognize the love of God in front of our eyes. One would think that after so many years we could recognize God, but too often we are so focused on ourselves, we ignore what is so obvious.

The Saints for today remind us that faith is for young and old alike. They remind us that we just need to open the eyes of our hearts and we will see God. He promised. Take a moment and read today’s Gospel lesson, and then ask yourself, “Do I see God?”

The Lord said to his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me.” – John 14.1-11

Jesus Christ spoke of seeing the Father because we see the Son. I invite you this summer to spend time as a family looking for God. Look for Him in the love and service of others. Look for Him in your heart and look for Him in Church. You will find Him everywhere you look if you have eyes to see. He is present in every person we meet. Once you have seen God, then show Him to others. The Saints we honor today stood firm in front of others, showing them God. It’s just too bad the pagans didn’t open their eyes to the family of God.


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