The Family: A Mission

“As Mary and Joseph also did, and it was not easy: how many difficulties they had to overcome! They were not a superficial family, they were not an unreal family. The family of Nazareth urges us to rediscover the vocation and mission of the family, of every family.”
~Pope Francis

The family, such a simple yet complicated structure.  It seems like such an easy equation – put two parents together, add children…. then divide by grandparents, multiply by aunts and uncle to the power of cousins.  Even that seems easy until you turn the page and now you need to solve for x where the family is the square root of it’s community, which is the derivative of a culture that results in point on a chart that will converge towards eternity.

Yep, the family is simple.

Sadly I think that society at large does think the family is simple – that it doesn’t matter what we do to its form or structure and that it surely doesn’t matter whether or not it’s supported.  The family as a unit has existed for hundreds of thousands of years; it must be a smooth-working piece of machinery by now.

What the family is – how it exists, grows and thrives within its own walls is complicated enough without adding the additional stress of vocation into it.  Surely, it’s just enough to make sure the first grader remembers to wear pants outside or that the four-year-old does eat more Legos or that you actually know where you teenager is.  Feed, clothe, cart around – that’s what the family is supposed to be right? Just surviving, possibly thriving, but only existing during those few hours at home together at night and maybe an hour at Church on Sunday.

Some days it does feel like that’s all we have in us – those immediate needs of the people around us are so high and so necessary that there can’t be anymore asked of us.  To add any more would be “Mission: Impossible”, there’s just no way God could ask any more.

But God does ask more, He wants more from us and He wants more from our families.

I don’t think He wants us to work ourselves to edge of insanity and I don’t think he wants us to burn out and turn away, but I do think the need is there and He is calling us to something more.

I think He is calling us to reinvest ourselves in our families, to strengthen our families and to make our families a mission.  He wants our families to be emissaries to our communities.  He wants our families to be feel charged with its own duty to each other and other people.  He wants our families not to just to have a mission, not just to have a goal, but to be a mission.  A literally, brick and mortar mission – I think we’re being called to make our families physical reminders of what a good Christian is – that we build our own strong foundations, house the needy in our walls, support truth, beauty and love above our heads to keep us safe and secure.

It’s not enough to go out on a mission elsewhere and on occasion and it’s no longer enough to just state that we have a mission.  We need to be a mission.  Our mission is family and our family is a mission.

4 thoughts on “The Family: A Mission

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