We are not normal. Our pastor reminded me of this in his homily today. He said that this is not the Feast of the Normal Family or the Feast of the Perfect Family. It is the Feast of the Holy Family.
Now, I realize this is no shocker to those of you who know us. We tend to be pretty counter-cultural. We do not have cable. None of us own iPods (a.k.a. personal isolation devices) or Blackberries (a.k.a. crackberries). My children received only one toy each that required batteries this Christmas. We homeschool. We drive 30 minutes each way to attend Mass at a parish that values reverence and modesty in church. I could go on, but you get the point.
Our pastor also told us, "Marriage is not about fun." If you've been married for longer than five years, have children, and are still "in love" (whatever that means) with your spouse, you know this is true. Have you noticed our world is fixated on having fun? In fact, he reminded us that it is possible to be a holy family and dispense with fun most of the time.
The thing that struck me the most from his homily, however, was this point: Our sanctification comes from the sacrifices we make in and for our families. It is when we die to ourselves and unite ourselves to the suffering of Christ on the Cross that we become holy. When we embrace the natural suffering of dirty diapers and back talking children, our souls are being purified.
This purification usually hurts. It is not easy. And, above all, it is rarely fun.
That's why we're not normal. We embrace suffering. We give of ourselves until it hurts and then give some more. We love without recompense. How else can we be salve for the Wounds of Christ? How else can we caress His blood-stained body?
We must kiss our cross and unite the daily struggles we experience in our families with the True Cross of our Salvation. Then, little by little, not only will our souls be sanctified, but our offerings can be given for all sinners. In this way, we can be a part of the New Pentecost, the New Springtime in the Church.
Don't be normal. Be a holy family. It is worth the effort.