Your CatholicMonth.ly February devotion box will help you get to know the Holy Family. But why are the members of the Holy Family such good models for our devotional lives? They seem so perfect, and we seem so… normal. Yet there are many aspects of their lives that relate to ours. Read on to learn what each member of the Holy Family can teach us about the devotional life.
As the head of the Holy Family, Joseph had the responsibility to provide for them and protect them. But he didn’t have an easy time with this. He had to travel a long way to Bethlehem with a very pregnant wife, then had nowhere to stay once they arrived. Then he had to take his wife and infant child to a foreign country and live far away from friends and family. He and Mary also shared the frightening experience of losing their child and anxiously trying to find him for three days.
God didn’t spare Joseph from challenges in life, even though the Bible says Joseph was a righteous man. Being a “righteous man” involves being a man of devotion. God used Joseph’s quiet devotion to bless him with strength and courage to overcome all his challenges.
Devotion involves spiritual habits and practices, but it’s not supposed to be a to-do list. True devotion is motivated by love—the love of God, which flows into love of neighbor. When we truly love someone, we want to do things with them and for them. Our love of God naturally draws us to devotional practices.
We know Mary would have observed the religious practices of the time like we do today at Church or in our homes like the prayer before a meal. But what was her inner motivation? The Bible tells us that during her life with Jesus, Mary “treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51) and she said to Elizabeth, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). That’s how we know her prayer and devotion was grounded in love. Love comes from the heart and soul.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph each had a heart that loved God and loved each other in a unique way. This is a beautiful thought to pray with as you look at the Holy Hearts print you received in your box.
While there’s a deeply personal dimension to Catholic devotions, they come from the treasury of the worldwide Church. This means that when you practice them, you become connected spiritually with others in the Church. For example, when we write JMJ at the top of our papers or on everyday things like emails or mugs, we’re reminded of how beautiful the devotional life is when it’s shared—with the saints in Heaven, but also our family and friends on earth.
God Himself has shown us that the devotional life is meant to connect us with others. Jesus, the Son of God, dwelt on earth and lived a human life of prayer and devotion: first with His family, and then with His disciples. In doing so, He forged bonds of love and friendship. We can each follow his example in our own way today.
Have a blessed February, and see you next month!
Updated from original February 11, 2021 blog post .