Each Family is Unique

If man is made to the image and likeness of God, the most natural grouping of men must somewhat follow the grouping of God in His inner being. In our human terms, we call this grouping as communion. Naturally we, as human persons, have this communion, which is first established in the union of man and woman in marriage. Following the natural course of events – as willed by our Creator--, this union bears offspring and the grouping is called family. It is the most basic grouping found in the human society. It is the most natural thing. People are not taught to form families. They just follow nature. People fall in love and come together. Then, children come out naturally. The bond among themselves is so strong that they live a community of life.

Family is the basic cell of the society. Many families form a society. In the society, rules are made to protect the individuals, the families, and the society itself. Other artificial groupings can enter the society but the most natural and stable grouping is the family. The other groups can develop into bigger and more complex groups but not lasting. Forming a family is in the nature of the human persons. When a man marries a woman, they have started a family, with children coming forth.

In the religious environment, the family is the domestic church. God is first appreciated in the family. The parents catechize their children in the most natural way. They make the sign of the cross, point to Jesus and Mary, teach basic prayers, and later, bring the children to the church. The pious practices of the adults are embedded in the hearts and mind of the young members of the family.

Each family has a distinct history. Some are poor; others, rich. Families can be urbanized or rural. Education can be a priority for some; while others would give priority to earning a living. Many families have normal lives. Some could experience tragedies. Sport could be a prime issue for a group of families. Acting or singing is a line that is followed by selected families. Whatever is the outstanding feature of any family, the members of the family share in the success or failure of the family. In other words, joys and sorrows are felt by the members of the family. This follows the adage: blood is thicker than water. But it is not blind connection following blood relations because it has to be developed in the family life. I remember a story of switching babies in the hospital. It was a story of twin sisters. One of them was taken by another family. To cut the story short, this latter girl was recognized by a sibling of her original family. Necessary contact was made and then, DNA analysis followed. Once it was proven to be so, it was presented to the said girl. But then, she chose her foster parents. No emotional connection was established with her biological parents.

Natural family ties are maintained after the earthly existence. Just like there is continuity of a human person, his affinities continue in the afterlife, most especially in the family. I would like to recall the commentary of St. Thomas More about his future life in heaven with his two wives. Hence we cannot abandon our natural family—father, mother, siblings, children. We can extend it to our uncles, aunts, and in-laws. In other words, we hope that family reunions are extended in heaven.

At the end of the day, I would like to recall a nice idea of St. Josemaria about the family: to see cheerful and bright families, trying to imitate the home of Nazareth, where Jesus, Mary, & Joseph developed their family life.

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