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A model to help us become a happier family

November 6th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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In his top 10 list for happiness published in July, Pope Francis quoted a Roman saying that reads “Campa e lascia campa” or “Live and let live.” It’s a sentiment that can help individuals and families looking for happiness.

“At a time of great crisis for family life, our Christian communities are called to support married couples and families in fulfilling their proper mission in the life of the church and society,” the pope said.

How do we become a happy or successful family by using “live and let live”?

We could start by observing Mary.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we see that in the time of King Herod in Judea a lot was happening in terms of family chaos. First, a priest named Zechariah was rendered mute by an angel. Then, Elizabeth, though old, surprisingly became pregnant, and then a very young woman named Mary found out she, too, was about to become a mother — although in a most unusual way.

 

People walk through a mist of water at Flushing Meadows Park in New York City. Like Mary, our happiness must be rooted in faith. (CNS photo/Shannon Stapleton, Reuters)

“The angel Gabriel was sent from God … to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.'”

Mary was greatly troubled at the greeting, we’re told, following the account that begins in Luke 1:26. The greeting was troubling? Mary, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

 The angel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. … You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.”

Mary started off with, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” But in the spirit of “live and let live,” she rounded off the conversation with a decisive, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Mary’s response shows unprecedented commitment to staying open to any calling God put on her. That’s what sometimes happens in families. Unprecedented situations happen. That includes good and bad, and in both scenarios, like Mary, we have to say “be done to me according to your word.”

Like Mary, our happiness, as well as the happiness of the family, has to be rooted in faith. We have to believe that God is with us, no matter what happens. We have to believe the word of God is what guides us in the good and out of the bad. Our duty is to remain loyal.

Later, in Luke’s account, Elizabeth lobbed onto Mary the sweetest of possible sentiments: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Blessed indeed.

Mary had found favor with God, so perhaps she was anointed with an unusually strong fortitude to care about God, while remaining resolutely dedicated to God’s call on her family life.

However, these accounts are written to encourage us and to help us. It means one thing: We have inside us that same resolute fortitude as well. We just have to exercise it.

We might be encouraged with words from those like blogger Glennon Melton who recently penned:

“Marriage is still the best chance we have to become evolved, loving people. We live in a transient, disposable world that teaches us that if we are uncomfortable, we should change our surroundings and people instead of ourselves.”

She goes on to say that what we really want, more than freedom from our families, is to be loved by one another within the safety of the family unit. “We have to be patient,” she wrote.

Even among social media trends, there are voices that support families. Here’s to peacefully finding a way to join our voices to the chorus.

 

— Janelle Alberts

Alberts, who lives in Chagrin, Ohio, is a freelance writer and media relations specialist.

 

 

 

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