Contributors Family matters

Family members are a gift you’ve been entrusted with

Family matters
Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.

by Deacon Tony Zimmerman

You probably remember the television sitcom “Home Improvement,” starring, among other people, comedian Tim Allen.

When life got a little complicated and messy, Tim would seek advice from Wilson, his neighbor on the other side of a wooden fence. If you remember, the audience never saw Wilson’s complete face. It was always partially hidden by the top of the wooden fence.

In today’s pandemic world, we often communicate with part of our faces hidden by protective masks. Instead of a fence, we are separated by the important guideline of maintaining at least six feet of social distancing.

Worse yet, if a loved one is living in a nursing home, the best that is available is communicating through a closed window. It is often difficult to find joy in these circumstances!

We are made for relationship with God and one another. These barriers meant to protect us can also leave us feeling alone and isolated.

The “good news” is that we can find joy in our homes when we strive as a family to find the presence of Jesus in the normal, everyday parts of our daily life.

The office of marriage and family life has begun offering a monthly set of principles that will enable families to grow in their love for God and each other.

The principle proposed with the launch of this project was: “Joyful Families Aren’t Perfect, They Are Intentional.” A series of suggestions were provided to help you grow in your closeness and appreciation for the gifts that each person brings into your family’s daily life.

Sharing chores like raking fall leaves and then allowing the young ones to jump in the piles build family memories. There were suggestions for adding to your family prayer and faith life.

October’s theme is: “Joyful Homes Aren’t Perfect, They’re Unrepeatable.” Each one of us is uniquely created by God, so it follows that our families are also unique and unrepeatable.

What are the unique qualities found in our family? What challenges have we overcome together? Parents and grandparents can share stories from their lives.

Parents can share what has been important in their faith life. Share memories of your first holy Communion. What is it like to receive Jesus in the Eucharist?

Take comfort in this truth: God gave you each member of your family because you are the best one to care for them.

As we go along into Advent, Christmas and a new year, there will be blogs and videos with more suggestions on celebrating liturgical seasons and exploring ways to grow in our Catholic faith and love for one another.

For more ideas and encouragement, go online to:

About the author

Deacon Tony Zimmerman

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