My friend Ashley Blackburn and I have written a 25 day Consecration to the Holy Family. If you are interested in doing this Consecration starting December 1, 2020 and ending on Christmas, please email me at email@example.com. You will receive an email each day of the Consecration. Below we explain why and how we are doing it. Again please email me if you are interested in receiving a daily email for 25 days of the Consecration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consecration to the Holy Family
Holiness of the Family
There is no perfect family, with the exception of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Even so, God calls every family to live in holy union with one another, so that the family may be held up in grace and become a beacon of light in the darkness. The family is made to be a reflection of the Holy Trinity. As we examine all that God hopes for in and through the family, we will begin to know more about the nature of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While our own family will ultimately fall short of this perfect holiness to some degree, it is always good and necessary to know what God desires for the family, so that we will have something to strive for, something to lead us ever forward in our journey to holiness.
The uniqueness of each family resides in their own set of persons and circumstances. The persons themselves comprise a harmonious community that is able to reflect God’s goodness in a very specific way. Every family’s journey is different and so the means by which they learn and live the virtues is how they are able to make progress. While some virtues will be better lived out by one family, another family will better live out a completely different virtue. Although the family should strive to live by all the virtues, specific ones may be at the heart of the family and thus become a witness to the world. It is important to never compare side by side our own family to our neighbor’s family. Each family is unique in God’s eyes. The goal for the family should be to be who they were created to be and to be that well. The family should be ever-striving to align their will with the Will of God and to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them in their particular path to holiness.
As the family begins to strive for holiness, it all starts right where they are, in the midst of their circumstances, with the very people that God has placed in their lives, in the present moment. Often we think it best to wait for situations to resolve or timing to be better before we can turn our lives around or before we can start to make changes to our family life. The Lord desires us to “Be not afraid” and to start where we are, in the midst of whatever our family looks like now. We can all begin with changing one habit or starting one new devotion and build from there. Like Peter taking that first step out on the water, we must take that first step in faith and then try our best to keep our eyes on Jesus, knowing that we can always reach out to Jesus if we start to fall or begin sinking in the water. Jesus will always save us, so we need not fear.
St John Paul II is a champion of marriage and family life. He believed in the holiness that all families are called to and their role in the new evangelization. JPII wrote numerous times about the family during his time as pope. He bravely and boldly proclaimed the truth of the Christian marriage and it’s extension through the family. He was persistent in presenting the inherently positive effects of Christian families, both on the individual members of the family, as well as on their community, their nation and the world.
While the family is no doubt under attack in our world today, the Catholic Church is there to redirect our gaze to the full potential of the family and the graces that flow from a family life centered on Christ. There is no time better than now to begin building a Christian society from the ground up. From your family and mine, may we begin to foster the dignity of every human being in our children and our children’s children. May we strengthen our family through the handing on of our faith by way of liturgy, catechesis, prayer, living the sacramental life, and bringing the life of the Church into our homes as we take seriously the role of being the Domestic Church. In the family, we create an authentic community of persons where we can learn who we are, what gifts God has given us, and how we are called to use our gifts for the building up of the Kingdom of God. Love is what lives in the family through the power of the Holy Spirit. Where the Holy Spirit is invited into the family, the love of God dwells.
By focusing on the building up of our own families, our view shifts away from the chaos of the world, onto doing our part to establish a civilization of love and unity, with a firm foundation of virtue, through the transformation of our own lives lived only for Christ. When the world looks at our family, they should be led to desire a deeper understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ. They should see peace, love, mercy, sacrifice, faith, hope, and truth being lived out on a daily basis. Created in God’s own image, when we are confronted with such witness to the Christian life, the human heart will be convicted by the Holy Spirit. Through the Christian witness of our family, the Holy Spirit is able to transform the world one heart at a time.
This Holy Family Consecration was created as a way for families to come together, to learn about the virtues lived out in the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is a commitment to building up and strengthening your family in faith and holiness. Through the roles of fatherhood, motherhood and childhood, each person of the family is called to live Love from right where they are and to become the Light of Christ in the world. Through meditating on the cardinal and theological virtues in light of each of these roles in the family, the goal is to help each person to see how these virtues can be lived out by them personally. All virtue starts where we are and grows in its refinement with the help of the Holy Spirit. The family can pray daily to the Holy Spirit to increase these virtues in them. As the family grows and matures in virtue, they should be led to a deepening of prayer; both personal prayer and family prayer. In turn, the family will also grow in faith, so that they can be sent out to evangelize both in word and deed. The family is designed to be a witness to the world of the joy of Christ, may we all step into our role of being Christ’s light in the world of darkness.
The Call of the Christian Family
St John Paul II wrote so well about how the family, by its very makeup, is in communion with the Blessed Trinity. In this way the family is able to see within itself what God has for humanity and what the family is called to do for the world through grace. Marriage and the family are a channel of God’s Grace with the potential to draw the entire culture into the rediscovery of our relationship to God through Christ. The graces that flow through the family have the potential to change the culture from the ground up.
But this model of the family requires our participation. It requires the parents to embrace the truth of who they are in Christ. It requires them to realize their covenant through the daily living out of their marriage vows. It requires sacrifice to be lived out and held up as the center point from which the graces of the cross flow. It requires obedience to the Will of God for themselves, as well as in the formation of their children. It requires the recognition and living out of the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. It requires the increase in the gifts of faith, hope and charity through their openness to the power of the Holy Spirit. Husband and wife are called to lead their family first through their own example, but then further through the outpouring of charity toward all of humanity.
The Catholic Church provides the family the framework from which to live as a domestic church. Through the daily living out of the sacramental life, the family draws from the Church the sanctifying grace of the Sacraments, so that they can build themselves up in faith, hope and charity, in order to witness to the world the Light of Christ that dwells within them. As the family is built up in holiness, it does so not to set itself up on a pedestal, but in order to transmit this saving power of God through the family out upon the world. As one family is strengthened, they become a beacon of hope and inspiration for others because the Light of Christ cannot be contained, but will go out and spread the Good News in both word and deed.
Format of the Consecration
1. This is a 25 day consecration to end on the 25th of any month you choose. The 25th day reminds us of both the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ (December 25). Also, the number 25 signifies grace upon grace.
2. Each day you will pray a rosary with your family, read aloud the daily reflection that will be emailed and recite the Prayer to the Holy Family together.
3. The consecration starts off with 7 days that are devoted to St. Joseph, praying for the father of the family, followed by 7 days devoted to Mary, praying for the mother of the family. Throughout each of these seven days, the reflections will highlight one of either the 4 cardinal virtues (prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance) or the 3 theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity). Then there are 7 days devoted to the Divine Child Jesus, praying for the children of the family. Since Jesus was virtue itself, fully Divine, and the perfection of virtue lived out, the focus of these 7 days will be on the virtues preached by Jesus through the parables.
4. The first Wednesday of the month is traditionally dedicated to Saint Joseph. On this day you will pray especially for the father of your family, whether present or not. If this is you or if you are single, you may pray for yourself. The First Wednesday Devotion consists of praying a rosary meditating on the Joyful Mysteries remembering Saint Joseph’s love, life, role and sufferings, along with receiving Holy Communion in union with the love Saint Joseph had for Jesus the first time and each time he held him, his son, his God and Savior, in his arms.
5. The first Friday of the month is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For the purpose of this consecration you will pray especially for the children of your family, whether present or not. Again, if this is you or if you are single or have no children, you may pray for yourself. On this day you will pray a rosary and meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries remembering Jesus’ love, life, role and sacrifice made for us on the Cross at Calvary, along with making an Eucharistic Holy Hour in Adoration and offering each member of the family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in prayer.
6. The first Saturday of the month is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For the purposes of this consecration you will pray especially for the mother of your family, whether present or not. If this is you or if you are single, you may pray for yourself. The First Saturday Devotion consists of going to confession (within 8 days), receiving Holy Communion, praying a rosary meditating on the Joyful Mysteries remembering Mary’s love, life, role and sufferings, along with spending 15 minutes with Our Lady meditating upon all 15 mysteries of the rosary.
7. In the final 3 days (days 22, 23, & 24) leading up to the Consecration Day (day 25), you will either abstain or fast as a family. Ideally this will be done from sun up until sun down, but at a minimum the family should commit to at least an hour on each of these days.
8. On the 22nd day of the month you will abstain from things you watch or see that are distractions from God. If this is not possible you can set aside a minimum of one hour without TV, phone, social media, etc. Consider filling this time with the reading of Sacred Scripture or watching a movie about a Saint, or getting out in nature and enjoying God’s creation together as a family.
9. On the 23rd of the month you will abstain from noise and spend most of the day in silence as best you can. If this is not possible you can set aside an hour of silence on this day. Consider filling this time of silence by meditating upon the early years of the Holy Family, their time together in Nazareth. What was Mary like as a mother? What was Saint Joseph like as a father? What was Jesus like as a child?
10. On the 24th of the month you will fast from foo (if you’re doing this in December, yes that is Christmas Eve until sundown, in preparation for our King.). This fast can be on bread and water or the Lenten fast of one regular meal and two smaller meals that do not add up to a full meal. Consider this day meditating on our spiritual hunger and thirst for the Lord. Or maybe you could clean out your pantry and donate food to the nearest food pantry or even volunteer at your local soup kitchen as a family.
11. On the 25th of the month, Consecration Day, you will come together as a family to recite the Consecration prayer and celebrate! Consider planning something really big this day. Make it special. Have all your favorite foods. Truly feast together as a family!
Things to remember
- This is not about making your family perfect or trying to fix another person.
- This is about transforming your own heart and uniting it to the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is within your own heart that God begins healing the family. When you begin to see others through the eyes of Christ, relationships are transformed and families are made whole. Whole and healed families build whole and healed communities and the light of Christ spreads outward from there. It begins with you. Be open to your own heart changing.
- This Consecration format is meant to help guide you. The days of fasting and abstinence and praying the full Rosary are part of the consecration, however, please do not quit if you feel overwhelmed. Do what you can do as a family and do it from your heart. You may have a day where only a decade is prayed. You may find fasting hard if you have never done it before. It is important to remember that prayer from the heart to the best of your ability is meaningful and God walks with you from where you are to the place where He wants you to be as long as you stay on the path with Him and don’t give up.
If you are interested in participating with your family please email me at the address listed above.