A Gift of Life Article

Faith Begins with Family
By Debbie Thompson

Faith can only gain entrance into the hearts of men, if it gives entrance into the home.” This statement was given in a homily delivered in 2006 by Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, on the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major. His homily is in regards to Our Lady of America and our present U.S. situation. This title which the Virgin Mary, in a series of private revelations and apparitions to Sr. Mary Ephram Neuzil indicated how she wished to be known. These revelations began in 1938, and ended in 1984 with approval by Vicar General and later Archbishop of Cincinnati, Paul F. Leibold. He continues, “Every home must be modeled on the Holy Family, because every home is primarily a house of prayer, and only if it is a house of prayer will God dwell there.  Where this is not the case, where parents have no time to teach their children to love Jesus, there they never learn to listen, not even to the voice of the Mother of Jesus. The break down of family life, indeed, the attempt at a radical redefinition of marriage not based on monogamy and purity, appears as refusal to love Jesus and listen to his voice.”

That statement is very powerful and should be taken seriously especially in these times we live in. Towards the end of 1954 Our Lady appeared to ask Sister’s help in bringing peace to the world, precisely by restoring the family as a dwelling place of the Divine Trinity. Our Lady told Sr. Mary Ephrem, “It was Our Lord’s desire that fathers and mothers strive to imitate me and my chaste spouse in our holy life at Nazareth. We practiced the simple virtues of family life, Jesus our son being the center of our love activity. The Holy Trinity dwelt with us in a manner for surpassing anything that can ever be imagined. For ours was the earthly paradise where once God walked among men. “

Father Peter Damian Fehlner continues, “These messages concern renewal in family life based on the purity of Mary of Joseph and on their love for Jesus, a renewal affected through a loving embrace of the cross. Let this renewal include contraceptive mentality, abortion, and all that directly attack and undermine the sanctity of family, the dignity, of fatherhood, the vocation of motherhood and sanctification and salvation of every child conceived of woman.”

Our own family should be modeled on the Holy Family. We need to love, and teach our children how important it is to have family values and how these values come from God. We have been given messages from Our Lord and Our Lady to help us in various forms, but yet these messages are not being taken seriously enough. Crime still continues everywhere and happens in many ways. One of these ways unfortunately, is abortion. The Holy Family would not teach the way of crime let alone allow abortion. Each child is a gift from God and they truly bring special gifts with them. They add warmth, unconditional love, happiness and so much more.

Father Slavko from Medjugorje reflected on a message given from Our Lady in 1997 to the visionaries in Medjugorje and had this to say, “Only the tired families who let themselves get divorced, and tired are the families who do not accept unborn life and therefore so many abortions happen.”  To me, this sentence describes many families in our world today. If we start rearranging our family priorities to become a Holy Family and continue to pray, we can make a difference. Through prayer and keeping the faith positive changes will happen and some already have. According to Healthcentral.com teen pregnancy rates have hit an all-time low, and cnn.com has reported several Planned Parenthood offices have closed.

Prayer works, and we need more.  There is hope in this world; I believe it starts with our own family. Through our family we can teach and guide our children as Mary and Joseph did with Jesus.  

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