From the Spanish Episcopal Conferencethe bishops recall that the family is "a privileged place of acceptance and discernment of the vocation to love. This essential nucleus in society is something that Christ himself did not deprive himself of. Pope Francis points out that "it is beautiful to see Jesus inserted in the network of family affection, being born and growing in the embrace and concern of his own" (Angelus, December 26, 2021).
The Holy Family, a model for our homes
"On this feast of the Holy Family," say the bishops, "we come to contemplate, from the hand of the Virgin Mary and of St. Joseph the mystery of God incarnated for love of us". The house of Nazareth reminds us of the importance of our families and the need to protect them: "No institution can replace the work of the family in the education of its children, especially in the formation of conscience. Any interference in this sacred sphere must be denounced because it violates the right of parents to transmit to their children an education in conformity with their values and beliefs".
The Episcopal Subcommission for the Family and the Defense of Life has prepared a booklet for prayer at home this Christmas. This document can be found on the web page of the Spanish Episcopal Conference.
EEC guidelines on education in the family
Based on the key points set forth by the Pope Francis in the exhortation Christus vivitthe bishops share some guidelines "for discernment of vocation and reflection on education in the family:
The family is the environment "in which one is loved for oneself, not for what one produces or for what one has".
Jesus Christ is "the most important member of the family, the one to whom we consult on important matters, to whom we entrust all situations, to whom we ask forgiveness when we have failed".
It is in the family nucleus where virtues are fostered "so that those called may give their generous yes to the Lord and remain faithful to this yes".
In the home, an encounter with Christ can be facilitated to learn to "listen to his Word and to recognize his voice through discernment".
Parents should recognize, as they look at their children, that they are not "owners of the gift but its careful stewards".
Parents have to teach their children to "recognize themselves as a gift".
It is important to instill the idea that life is surrender, so that the children can say: "I am a mission on this earth, and that is why I am in this world".
The family is not a cell isolated in itself, which does not care about what happens around it. This charitable dimension begins in the extended family, caring especially for grandparents and the elderly, but it must be open to the needs of others".
9.It is essential that parents not "oppose their children's vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life or ask them to prioritize their professional future, postponing the Lord's call". Moreover, with regard to vocations, the bishops point out that "there is nothing more stimulating for children than to see their parents live marriage and the family as a mission, with happiness and patience, in spite of difficulties, sad moments and trials".
As a Church "we have the mission to accompany the families living in our communities". We must be close to "families living in marginalization and poverty; we must be very present to migrant families; we must not leave aside families that have suffered separation and divorce".