There is a remarkable similarity between the family and the Church. In fact, since early times the Church has been referred to as a family, and the family has been called the “domestic church”. Both communities share similar visions and tasks. Church members are called to learn, pray, play, celebrate and serve together; so are our families. Both communities are called to be welcoming and reconciling. Family and Church both have the responsibility of nurturing, supporting and challenging their members to grow to their full potential. In our world of overextended schedules, it is sometimes difficult to find time for church. It is similarly difficult to be “family” today. It takes commitment and intentionally to be a faithful member of either community. However, the energy and effort put into these commitments can be soul saving.
Make time to be together as a family-to eat together, to play, work and learn together. Compliment and affirm each other often. Take the time to talk to each other, not just about your daily happenings but your thoughts and feelings as well. Listen well. Pray together and go to church together. In a survey done by the University of Nebraska, shared faith is listed as one of the six traits of a strong family. The five other qualities are: good communication, affirmation, taking time together, handling problems and crises well and finally, and probably most importantly, commitment. It takes commitment to keep being family—to face problems and crises in constructive ways, to work things out no matter what. It takes the same commitment to forgive the Church its human failings, to attend Eucharist regularly and stay involved in parish life. The Church and the family were founded in love; both function best when love is their source and sustenance.