Pope Benedict XVI urged families everywhere to "enroll" in the school of Nazareth to find lasting peace.
Being a parent in today’s world is not easy and at times can be the most stressful activity on the planet! In fact, it may seem at times like nothing is working.
The good news is that God desires peace in your home and it is possible by imitating, as much as we can, the house of Nazareth.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote an appeal to families in a general audience he gave in 2011, urging them to look at the Holy Family for inspiration.
I would therefore like to invite you to reflect today on the way that prayer was part of the life of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Indeed, the house of Nazareth is a school of prayer where one learns to listen, meditate on and penetrate the profound meaning of the manifestation of the Son of God, following the example of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.
Benedict then quoted from an address given by St. Paul VI when he visited Nazareth.
“In the first place it teaches us silence. Oh! If only esteem for silence, a wonderful and indispensable spiritual atmosphere, could be reborn within us! Whereas we are deafened by the din, the noise and discordant voices in the frenetic, turbulent life of our time. O silence of Nazareth! Teach us to be steadfast in good thoughts, attentive to our inner life, ready to hear God’s hidden inspiration clearly and the exhortations of true teachers.”
Besides silence, the school of Nazareth highlights the fundamental role of marriage and how the faith of the parents is passed on to each other and their children.
Mary’s ability to live by God’s gaze, is so to speak, contagious. The first to experience this was St Joseph. His humble and sincere love for his betrothed and his decision to join his life to Mary’s attracted and introduced him, “a just man”, (Mt 1:19), to a special intimacy with God. Joseph fulfilled every aspect of his paternal role. He must certainly have taught Jesus to pray, together with Mary. In particular Joseph himself must have taken Jesus to the Synagogue for the rites of the Sabbath, as well as to Jerusalem for the great feasts of the people of Israel.
Above all, a family can establish peace in the home through family prayer.
The family is the domestic Church and must be the first school of prayer. It is in the family that children, from the tenderest age, can learn to perceive the meaning of God, also thanks to the teaching and example of their parents: to live in an atmosphere marked by God’s presence. An authentically Christian education cannot dispense with the experience of prayer. If one does not learn how to pray in the family it will later be difficult to bridge this gap. And so I would like to address to you the invitation to pray together as a family at the school of the Holy Family of Nazareth and thereby really to become of one heart and soul, a true family.
Let us not forget to enroll our families in this “school” and keep our family united through prayer.