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For Your Marriage

Domestic Church Retreat Day Two: Christ in Our Midst

Also available as a printable PDF.

Day Two: Christ in Our Midst

A Story about Home Life
Pope Francis often speaks about the importance of having an encounter with Christ, especially for a Christian’s journey. He never tires of repeating the words of Benedict XVI: “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” (EG, 7)

Our prayers always begin with gratitude for the visible signs of Christ’s presence in our lives. Encounters with Christ often come when we least expect them, through the little people who provide us unique challenges: our kids.

Like most Catholic families, our home life celebrates the beauty of the liturgical year with traditions. We read stories about the saints and celebrate their feast days. We light the Advent wreath and set up the nativity figures at Christmastime. These moments are the highlights of our year as we live the seasons of the Church in our own home.

On any given day, however, our home life is also messy and frustrating (not unlike the history of the Church!). Spaghetti stains on Sunday clothes, sticky kitchen floors, pouting and tears before bedtime or endless requests for stories that try a weary parent’s patience.

Every day God enters and encounters us in the brokenness of this world and in the messiness of our families. Even when our kids adeptly put our misery on display, we are being offered the opportunity to welcome humility and holiness into our midst. Our own parenting failures allow God’s love and mercy to meet us right where we are.
– Ramie and Jake

To Think About
Choose one or more of the following questions to reflect on with your spouse:

  1. How can you affirm, respect, and connect with your children or spouse as you go through your daily routines together?
  2. Think back to a recent loss of temper you had with your child. Could that situation have been a moment of encounter with Christ?
  3. How quickly and easily do I grant forgiveness and show mercy to my child/spouse? How quickly and sincerely do I ask for forgiveness from them?

Prayer to the Holy Family
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love;
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too may be places of
communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division;
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Graciously hear our prayer.
(AL, 325)

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