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2012 FAMILY THEME “DAY BY DAY WITH GOD AND FAMILY”

JULY THEME: GRANDPARENTS

DAY BY DAY DEAR LORD THREE THINGS I PRAY, TO SEE THEE MORE CLEARLY, LOVE THEE MORE DEARLY, FOLLOW THEE MORE NEARLY

Reflections from MARFAM’S DAY BY DAY WITH GOD AND FAMILY, Part 3 for individuals, families and groups.

 

1. (8.)  JULY FAMILY THEME.  GRANDPARENTS.

Grandparents are at the opposite extreme to the youth in families. They have been there and done that and are not really interested in the T shirt. Maybe they are too tired, having given so much of themselves for their children and for grandparents also their grandchildren. Is the wisdom gained from experience still being valued as much as it should be? Grandparents, children and grandchildren all need to practise tolerance and acceptance. A good dose of gratitude towards one another is very helpful as we pray for and with one another day by day.   

 In Africa, the elderly are held in particular veneration. They are not banished from families or marginalized as in other cultures. On the contrary, they are esteemed and perfectly integrated within their families, of which they are indeed the pinnacle. This beautiful African appreciation of old age should inspire Western societies to treat the elderly with greater dignity. Sacred Scripture speaks frequently of the elderly. “Rich in experience is the crown of the aged, and their boast is the fear of the Lord” (Sir 25:6).

 

2. (19). Praying for grandchildren

Bring each grandchild to mind and  reflect on their special qualities and needs.

PRAYER   Heavenly Father, I worship you, and give you praise for the great gift of life you have given to me. With gratitude, wonder and awe I acknowledge that it is through my life that you granted life to my children; they are mine, ours and yours. They in turn have become the parents of our grandchildren, and some of us are already blessed with great grandchildren in your wonderful chain of life.

It is for all these young ones that I thank you and I pray for them today.

Some of them are strong in faith, others strong in body,

Some are beautiful in looks, others beautiful in spirit.

Some are ugly and disfigured, some destroy their own beauty.

The world in which they live is different from the world in which we lived.

Sometimes we do not understand their world and their ways and we need your gift of forgiveness so that we can be at peace.

You have given them to us to love and to hold in prayer, so I earnestly pray today that through my intercession no evil will befall them and that the hopes and dreams we have built up over the years will be theirs too.

May your kingdom come, in their lives and in ours.

Amen.

Not only have they given life, but they contribute by their actions to building up their family (cf. Tit 2:2-5), and by their prayer and their life of faith, they spiritually enrich every member of their family and community. AM 48.

 

3. (20) 1st July, Sunday 13B.   The Lord who gives life.

No life, no visible sign of life. This can be the impression on driving through a small country town on a Sunday afternoon.  A white suburb gives much the same impression; no one is out and about.  Townships are teeming with life most of the time and particularly at weekends life is lived to the full, often in full view of the world. That old lady, this young couple, those naughty kids may be out in the street but then again behind closed doors there may be anxious searching for a sign of life in a terminally ill person or a sick child.  Every moment of every life ought to be cherished.

One of the synagogue officials came up, Jairus by name, and fell at his feet and pleaded with him saying. ‘My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life.’ Taking the child by the hand he said to her, “Talitha, kum!” which means, “Little girl, I tell you to get up.” The little girl got up at once and began to walk about.” Mark 5:21-42.

 

4. (21). 6th July,  St Maria Goretti.

This young girl saint and martyr was stabbed to death in 1902 as she tried to defend herself against a young man whom she knew who attacked her and threatened to rape her. As she died she said, “I forgive him for the love of Jesus.” Rape is an enormous problem today and takes different forms. Girls and women as well as babies, young children, lesbians and old women are raped in different kinds of circumstances and sometimes with great brutality.  There are sexual as well as violent aspects to this crime involving men and women too. St Maria Goretti is the patron saint of youth and victims of rape. As she did, is it possible to forgive?

 Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you since you have received him from God. You are not your own property, you have been bought and paid for.  That is why you should use your body for the glory of God. 1 Cor 6:19-20

 

5. (22). 8thJuly, Sunday 14B. Church as prophet of God.

She sat alone early in the morning, worrying, wondering. “How much have I told my children over the years and how much actually sank in? Are they telling their children, or is it up to me to tell their children as the bible says?  But I do feel so out of touch with the modern world and the modern ways. I want to tell them about the Good News that God the Father really loves them and is concerned about the pressures they live under, to achieve, to be like their friends. Could they understand that ‘less is more’ in the end? Do I even understand that back-to-front idea?

Take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”  Deut 4:9.  I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.  2 Cor 12:9-10

 

6. (23). 15thJuly, Sunday 15B. Missionary church.

I read something really nice in an old magazine I came across. “Adopt a grandparent” it said. I’ve got three of my own and I do go and see them with my mom quite often, especially grandpa Paul who can’t really get out much. But as it said in the article some older people live all alone. Maybe their children have gone away, or have died before them. That can happen when you’re 92. Maybe they sit and wait for “Meals on Wheels” to make their day.  Maybe I could pop my head in to that old age home once a week for my Confirmation project.

Old age, despite the frailty which seems to accompany it, is a gift that should be lived each day in serene openness to God and neighbour. AM47. The elderly are able to participate in the reconciliation of individuals and communities through their wisdom and experience.  AM 49.

“Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding.” Psalm 92:13

 

7. (24). 22nd July, Sunday 16B. Christ the Good Shepherd.

St Mary Magdalen has always been a controversial figure. The gospel accounts are not clear as to her exact identity but in the Catholic Church it is generally accepted that she was a sinner, that she was forgiven by Jesus and became one of his most ardent followers, faithfully standing by him at the foot of the cross and being one of the first witnesses of the Resurrection. Her love for Jesus has made her legendary.  Was her sin prostitution?  Could she be one to whom intercession can be made to combat the evils of prostitution as not only sinful for the sex worker as seller but also for the buyer?   Are conversion and true love the key?  

I will rise and go through the City; in the streets and squares. I will seek him whom my heart loves. I sought but did not find him. The watchmen came upon me on their rounds in the City: ”Have you seen him whom my heart loves?” Scarcely had I passed them than I found him whom my heart loves.”  Song of Songs 3:4  Feast of St Mary Magdalen.

 

8. (25). 26th July, St Joachim and St Ann.

Very little is known about them but tradition honours them as the parents of Mary and the grandparents  of Jesus and so they played a role in God’s plan of salvation. Grandparents are often quietly in the background offering their support and especially praying for their grandchildren. Do we show appreciation for their ongoing commitment? Make Grandparents’ Day on 26th July a special way to say “Thanks, we love you.” The Sodality of St Ann is a women’s movement of married women who are a support for their members and work in the community in very many ways.  Let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors in their successive generations. Their offspring will last for ever their glory will not fade. Their bodies have been buried in peace and their name lives on for all generations. Ecclesiasticus 44:1, 14.

 

9. (26). 29th July, Sunday 17B. Christ who feeds us.

St Martha. There are many Martha’s in the church and in our families, good women who cook and bake, clean and sew. We all agree those are important and necessary things. And yet….

“Jesus came to a village and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the feet of the Lord and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, “Lord do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and fret about so many things and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part, it is not to be taken from her.” Luke 10:38-42. Would this Opening Prayer of the Mass be an affirmation and  consolation for the workers? Father, your Son honoured St Martha by coming to her home as a guest. By her prayers may we serve Christ in our brothers and sisters and be welcomed by you into heaven our true home.


2012 FAMILY THEME “DAY BY DAY WITH GOD AND FAMILY”

AUGUST THEME: GENDER MATTERS  

DAY BY DAY DEAR LORD THREE THINGS I PRAY, TO SEE THEE MORE CLEARLY, LOVE THEE MORE DEARLY, FOLLOW THEE MORE NEARLY

Reflections from MARFAM’S DAY BY DAY WITH GOD AND FAMILY, Part 3 for individuals, families and groups.

 

28. AUGUST FAMILY THEME. GENDER MATTERS.

Women in many cases still need empowerment but in other cases men do too. The way relationships between men and women are managed is a key issue in building healthy families and beyond that a healthy social environment. Human beings are gendered and sexual and act and react as males or females to members of the same sex or the opposite sex. Men will be boys and women will be girls. That is part of their nature, their beauty and value and a gift from God. We owe it to God, to one another and our families, Day by Day, to live out our gender roles with grace.

God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him, male and female he created them. God blessed them saying, be fertile and multiply,  fill the earth and subdue it. God looked at everything he had made and he found it very good.” Gen 1:27-30. 

 

29. 5th August, Sunday 18B. A Spiritual Revolution.

Fr Peter asked, “Is being a good planner a gender issue, a personality thing, a lesson of life or a skill that is acquired?” and added, “Probably something of all of those, not just gender. In one family Mirriam was a neat methodical person, John a happy-go-lucky “loskop.” Who achieves the most in the end? At school methodical people manage their lives well, but in the hurly-burly of modern life the Johns sometimes race ahead. Until the wheels come off and he had his bookkeeper and the tax man on his back. He felt upset that he left some clients in the lurch and resolved to make good management a real value.

I want to urge you in the name of the Lord not to go on living the aimless kind of life the pagan live. That is hardly the way you have learnt from Christ. Eph 4:17

 

30. 9th August, National Women’s Day.

African men had been required to carry passes for years but in the 1950s this law was imposed on African women. They were not allowed to live in towns unless they had permission to be employed there, so could not take children or join their husbands in town. After many protests on August 9th 1956 20,000 women from all racial groups marched to Pretoria to deliver a petition with 100,000 signatures. This militancy surprised many and led to their greater involvement in the struggle.

You, Catholic women, carry on the Gospel tradition of those women who assisted Jesus and the apostles. In the local Churches, you are a kind of “backbone”, because your numbers, your active presence and your organizations are a great support for the Church’s apostolate. When peace is under threat, when justice is flouted, when poverty increases, you stand up to defend human dignity, the family and the values of religion. AM58

 

31. 12th  August, Sunday 19B.  Father who draws us to himself by feeding us.

Fr Peter began, “Is it necessary to look at God as father, as the one who feeds us? Could it be God as parent, or mother, as they do most of the feeding and even produce some of the most heavenly food? We do agree that there is competition between the sexes. Why is there a ‘Take a girl child to work’ day and not a ‘take a boy child?’ My nephew Bruce was quite angry knowing that his sister was doing really well at school and had been offered a bursary already. Maybe she was the brains in the family but he and his friends were starting to get resentful that girls seemed to be getting more opportunities than boys. ‘We try harder, that’s why, it’s not only that we are formerly disadvantaged,’ Priscilla told him. ‘And they even want to play soccer,’ Bruce said to himself. So, what do you think?

 The Church has the duty to contribute to the recognition and liberation of women, following the example of Christ’s own esteem for them. Giving opportunities to make their voice heard and to express their talents through initiatives which reinforce their worth, their self-esteem and their uniqueness would enable them to occupy a place in society equal to that of men – without confusing or conflating the specific character of each – since both men and women are the “image” of the Creator. AM 57.

 

32.19th August, Assumption.

The Assumption had always been one of her favourite feasts of Our Lady and when she decided to become a religious sister she chose to change her name to Assumpta. “What does it mean to you?” some friends asked. “It seems so right to me that after a life of total dedication to her calling, which of course included a physical aspect, her body should not undergo decay like those of ordinary people. We celebrate it as the patron feast of South Africa with vigils and pilgrimages expressing our love and begging for her intercession for our country, something sorely needed.”

 The Second Vatican Council taught that “the Virgin Mary, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things (n. 59). Queen, assumed into heaven, patroness of South Africa, pray for us. Lumen Gentium 59.

 

33. 19th August, Sunday 20B. Our Eucharist, thanksgiving.

Fr Peter smiled to himself when he read the words of St Paul, “Be very careful about the sort of lives you lead” and wondered who was listening. Morag and Joan later discussed whether there is really still such a thing as women’s work. Domestic work and nursing is mostly done by women, teaching too nowadays, but one finds women as doctors, in all office jobs, engineering, construction and farming too. “We forget sometimes that in many cultures women have traditionally done a lot of the farm work” Joan said. “I can’t say I’ve seen many women tractor drivers though,” she laughed, “Should there be?” They continued to discuss the impact of women in different jobs and particularly the effect this was having on families.

 “Thank you women who work! You are active in every area of life – social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. You make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life ever open to the sense of “mystery,” to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity. From letter of Pope John Paul II to Women 4th World Conference on Women, Beijing 1994.