As previously mentioned, the Catholic publication, Our Sunday Visitor, cited many reasons that influence the decision of people to return to the active practice of the Catholic faith. Some return because they have acknowledged mistakes and seek forgiveness and spiritual healing, which is so appropriate as we begin this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Some return because they want their children to have a more solid spiritual and moral foundation. Some return because they want to be part of a faith community and to have a sense of belonging. Some return because they truly want to help others, and realize that the Catholic Church offers many opportunities to touch the lives of others. Some return because they believe that the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth and grace. Many return because they feel an intense longing for the opportunity to encounter Christ in the Eucharist. They yearn for the spiritual nourishment that comes when they receive the Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharist has been cited as the number one reason people come back to the Church.
Today as we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, we can strive for spiritual unity and the strengthening of families by inviting and encouraging our loved ones and friends who have fallen away to return to their faith. We can pray for them, reach out to them with a helping hand, and welcome our brothers and sisters back to the Church we love.
The following PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY taken from the Collect in the Roman Missal for the Feast of the Holy Family, reflects this call for spiritual unity:
LORD JESUS CHRIST,WHO,
BEING MADE SUBJECT TO MARY AND JOSEPH,
DIDST CONSECRATE DOMESTIC LIFE
BY THINE INEFFABLE VIRTUES;
GRANT THAT WE, WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF BOTH,
MAY BE TAUGHT BY THE EXAMPLE OF THY HOLY FAMILY
AND MAY ATTAIN TO ITS EVERLASTING FELLOWSHIP
WHO LIVEST AND REIGNEST, WORLD WITHOUT END. AMEN.
We pray that families will embrace this call to spiritual fellowship as we begin the New Year.