16th Wednesday of Ordinary Time
Memorial of St Sharbel
St. Sharbel Makhlouf was a Maronite monk and priest from Lebanon, known during his life and after his death as a saint, mystic, and a great miracle-worker. He is also known for his holy wisdom, gleaned from a life of penance, deep prayer, and silence. In one of his homilies, he spoke about the foundational importance of the family As the family is under attack in our time, I would like to quote what he said:
“The family passes on the plan of God from one generation to another. It transmits the love and word of God through the generations. The collapse of the family means the collapse of God’s plan in humanity. It means the breakup of the message of salvation and sanctity to humanity. Every family is a holy family because it is the image of God the Trinity. The corruption of the family means a corruption of the image of God. The family carries the torch of light and passes it from one generation to another so the world may remain lit by the light of the Lord.
“The family is the rope that binds humanity together through time, binds generations through history, so that humanity may grow and increase; and if this rope which binds humanity together was broken, and humanity gets separated from its history, it would be no more than lost generations which have neither history nor identity. The family is what gives people their human identity and impresses the image of God in them. The family is what preserves the memory of humanity; humanity without family is humanity without memory. A person without memory keeps turning in place, and humanity without memory will stop in history and die.
“The family is the basis of the Lord’s plan; and all forces of evil are focusing all their evil on destroying the family because they know that by destroying the family, the foundations of the plan of God will be shaken. The war of the Evil One against the Lord is his war against the family, and the war of the Evil One against the family is the core of his war against the Lord. Because the family is the image of God, from the beginning of the creation of this universe, The Evil one is focusing on destroying the family, the foundation of God’s plan.
“Guard your families and keep them from the schemes of the evil one through the presence of God in them. Protect and keep them through prayer and dialog, through mutual understanding and forgiveness, through honesty and faithfulness, and most importantly, through listening. Listen to one another with your ears, eyes, hearts, mouths and the palms of your hands, and keep the roaring of the noise of the world away from your homes because it is like raging storms and violent waves; once it enters the home, it will sweep away everything and disperse everyone. Preserve the warmth of the family, because the warmth of the whole world cannot make up for it.”