Wholly family: celebrating wonder on this feast day

Two of my Patheos neighbors have reminded me today about the meaning of family, and it couldn’t be more timely.

Elizabeth Scalia on Facebook directed folks to a post she put up a couple years ago about her two grown boys: 

I love my kids, but they could not be more different. They’re both “certified geniuses” according to whoever thinks up those tests, both artistic, musical, creative, inventive, curious, math-and-science loving and fair-minded. Elder son is utterly fearless about approaching and interacting within the interior world of screens, monitors and the universe of ideas, “out there” in the vast, unlimited ‘nets. He is cautious to a fault and sometimes hobbled by the instinct toward perfectionism. Buster is fearless about taking on the flesh and blood world, flinging his arms wide open to the universe “out there” – the vast throng of people he plans to make friends with and eventually rule. He is not always cautious enough and can sometimes be hobbled by pride.

And the truth is – despite all of my best and worst days of parenting – these two are pretty much precisely the people they were on the days they were born.

They are both, in a way, from outer space. Elder Son has always been the quiet dreamer of a planet, and Buster has always been the impatient supernova; they circle around us, in their own orbits.

Our mysteries are all before us, every day.

Amen, amen.

And sometimes, as Rebecca Hamilton points out, we encounter those mysteries in our parish family, in the blessedly imperfect people in the pews around us at Mass:

If you spend your time in mass looking for faults and picking things apart, then you’re impoverishing yourself with a second rate experience. You’re like a child who refuses to open his present because the bow is crooked.

Do you have any idea what is happening in the world? Do you understand that Christianity is under attack, that the world is a butcher shop, and that these priests bring us the only hope there is? Priests are human beings. I’ve sometimes gotten exasperated with one or another of them, as, I assure you, they have with me. I’ve had disagreements, and rather heated ones, with priests I know. But not over their advice to me about spiritual things.

I have never felt anything but awe when one of these very human men looks down at that wafer and says “This is My body,” and by saying that, makes it so. They bring us Christ in the Eucharist, and, my experience has been, when you’re in trouble and you call them, they come.

When I talk about the people who were at the Christmas Eve mass, I am talking about living miracles of grace. The pillars of the community, illegal immigrants, the gay man, the transsexual, the gabbling ladies, the cop who was supposed to never walk again, and, yes, incredible as it is to say, me. We are all miracles.

Mysteries and miracles, miracles and mysteries.  To think of it that way is to realize that every family is something sacred, something holy. Even our own. For all our faults and failings, madness and mayhem, we are a wonder. Thank you for reminding us of that, Elizabeth and Rebecca.

God bless us, every one.

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