Updating the family
By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA
CHRISTMAS time is
obviously family time. Letís thank God that in our country we still
see this equation largely lived happily. Letís pray that in other
places, especially in developed countries, the same ideal can also
take place. We cannot deny that it is not quite so in many of them,
including parts of ours.
We see rising cases of
dysfunctional families, with marriages defaced by infidelities and
unrefreshed love and a sense of commitment unable to ďResetĒ when
needed, childrenís neglect, family life reduced to a minimum, etc.
The family always
deserves our utmost attention. We should not be naÔve to think that we
can take our duties and responsibilities toward it for granted.
Especially now, tricky and openly difficult challenges confront it. We
have to be aware of them and try to do something about them.
We need to repair the
damages, heal the wounds and plot out the paths to make the family
healthy, vibrant and capable to do its sacred duty of nurturing
persons and citizens.
Letís remember that we
can never outgrow the need for the family, no matter how old, mature
and independent we can be. Even those who lead a prominently spiritual
and celibate life need it.
Itís a requirement of
our nature, given by God and not by some human consensus. The family
is a divine creation, before it is a human institution.
With family life given
a boost during this Christmas holidays, letís take the time to see
what we can do to reinforce the family, both in general and in
individual cases. Letís not waste the opportunity by spending it
solely on having fun. Itís a time for discerning, anticipating,
planning things for the family.
May it be that in
every level of our life, this concern for the family is taken up
seriously. For the Church, for example, there should be abiding
diocesan and parochial efforts to help the family in some concrete
way, an effort translated into continuing prayers, sacrifices and
For example, the
preparation for couples for marriage should be attended to well.
Effective programs to nourish coupleís conjugal love should be
Prompters about the
evil of contraception, the RH bill, etc. should be frequently made
since this now constitutes clear and present danger to marriages.
The government and
NGOs should also do the same, trying to figure out the issues families
in general are now facing and tackling. There are many of them. Itís
good to have a systematic and massive approach to this, monitoring the
relevant developments closely and ever presenting solutions.
For one, it pains me
to see some workers pressured to do overtime work at the expense of
their family life. Stories I hear about inhuman pressures suffered by
call center agents are really depressing. The problems involved should
Also the environment,
especially that part known also as the human ecology, should be
continually cleaned and renewed to foster family life among the
people. This area is often ignored, its challenges not taken up
There are situations
that undermine the familyís vitality. Pornography, unregulated means
of amusement and recreation, etc., are now going viral. People get
unduly absorbed by new technologies at the expense of family life.
Obviously, the spouses
and the other members of the family should do their part to enrich
their family life. Quality time together should be fostered, planned
and defended against factors that tend to undermine it. Affection,
good manners should be shown in any weather.
Everyone should try
his best to be generous in this area, always thinking of details that
can brighten the home and warm the relationships among all the family
members, heroically fighting against tiredness, attachments, personal
preferences, selfishness, etc.
In this regard, the
little things of everyday count a lot and are, in fact, the main
ingredient to strengthen the bonds of the family. We need to take
advantage of these little things in our family life to culture our
love for God and for others. Thereís actually no other way as basic as
For this purpose, it
might be good to realize the need for us to develop a devotion to the
Holy Family. Our families should be a reflection, if not a
participation in that family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, where
everything good for us was lived to the max and continues to be lived.
We should never
fail to realize the need to use spiritual and supernatural means,
without neglecting the human instruments, to develop our families.