Many years ago, Reader’s Digest carried a family quiz. It contained 12 questions addressed to parents. “If a teenage boy on a TV show kissed both parents, would your children consider this normal?”
How would you answer that question?
The second question was, “If you and your spouse were both reading in one room, would your children come and sit in that room, too?” The third question: “Have your children ever told you that they want to have a family just like yours when they get married?”
These questions involve the whole family at the most basic level of family life: the love level. One of Bob Hope’s favorite jokes concerned his friendship with Bing Crosby. Hope said of Crosby, “There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him, and there is nothing he wouldn’t do for me.” But that’s the trouble. We spend our lives doing nothing for each other.
Hope’s point is a good one. We tend to take each other for granted. When we stop to think about it, it is surprising how rarely we express our love for one another in a verbal or visible way. When was the last time you told a family member in a conversation or an email or a letter that you loved them? Failure to express our love verbally or visibly can have a disastrous effect.
Young people especially need to know they are loved. They need to see it and feel it. The greatest Christian truth about life is love. The best place in the world for anyone to learn that truth is in the Christian family.
To live family life today is difficult. There is so much that militates against it. The solution is the one we practice at Mass every week. To center our lives on Christ’s message and open our hearts and minds to His presence.
Let Christ be a member of your family. Go to Church together. Say grace together before meals. Troubles will not disappear, but instead of crushing us, they will be stepping stones to higher things.
And remember the words of St. John, where he gives us a rule about life. He says: “My children, our love should not be just words and talk. It must be true love which shows itself in action.”