“AND JESUS ADVANCED IN WISDOM AND AGE AND FAVOR BEFORE GOD AND MAN” (Lk 2:52).
“We strive to provide the conditions in which the candidates may grow like Jesus of Nazareth in wisdom and grace… Centered on Christ like Mary and Joseph, the candidate’s surrender finds its radical expression in the profession of vows.”
As Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, we model our life on the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth. This aspect is important in both the preparation for vows and ongoing formation. We want the spiritual values, which permeated the life of the Holy Family, to become our values, so that the world would be enriched with the spirit of Nazareth.
The Holy Family was a special Community of Persons – Joseph, the foster father, called a just man, the Virgin Mother, who called herself the Handmaid of the Lord, and their only son, Jesus, who was also the Son of God. Jesus was the center of the Holy Family. He was the focal point for all the thoughts and actions of Mary and Joseph. He linked them together and united them into one. He was first and foremost. Giving primacy to Jesus was the specific feature of this family. Mary and St. Joseph served Jesus. It was a service of love to the Incarnate God. We strive to ensure that our formation is marked by the primacy of God in our lives and the constant seeking of God’s Kingdom (see Mt 6:33). The deepening of our relationship with Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, and loving Him with an undivided heart are our ardent desires.
The Holy Family is our model of openness to the action of the Holy Spirit and sensitivity to God’s inspiration in the different stages of our life and formation. We learn silence, solitude, and contemplation from Jesus, Mary and Joseph in order to be able to hear God speaking to us to follow His voice. Through the whole process of our formation, we gradually mature to an ever-increasing awareness of these values.
The example of the Jesus, Mary and Joseph in their total and absolute obedience to the will of God is for us a reference point for formation in the living of the gospel counsel of obedience. In a special way, obedience to the Will of God characterized the Holy Family and was a feature common to all the persons of the Holy Family. They were carefully attuned to God’s plan. We learn that the fulfillment of the will of God needs to become our deepest and most important desire. We continuously discern God’s will both communally and individually and ensure that discernment is central to all our formation endeavors.
We learn from the Holy Family how to accept human mediation at different stages of our life and formation. We desire to see with the eyes of faith, God acting in and through our superiors. We believe that at this particular moment in the history of our Congregation, God awaits our YES, just as he awaited the FIAT of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The Holy Family teaches us how to accept the mysterious action of God in our lives, how to perceive ourselves as tools in God’s hands and how to be ready to cooperate with God in the fulfilling of His plan for the world so that the blind could see, the lame could walk and the poor could hear the Good News (See Lk 7:22).
In our formation in the evangelical counsel of poverty, the Holy Family of Nazareth is for us a model of trusting in Divine Providence. Jesus, Mary and Joseph led a life of the poor and experienced some deprivations. They experienced the lack of a room in the inn, immigration to a foreign country and the lack of human kindness. They experienced life-threatening situations.
Trusting God totally, they were able to recognize His presence in all the circumstances of life. In the school of the Holy Family we learn to overcome our fears and totally trust in God’s Providence in the difficult moments of our lives, especially during time of crises.
The example of the Holy Family inspires us to retain little for ourselves in order to become more generous toward others. We therefore learn to settle for less and to opt out of what is unnecessary. We learn to accept with humility the deficiencies and inconveniences of life. The Holy Family teaches us how to surrender our life into the hands of God and to accept His care for us. The life of the Holy Family, marked by ordinary, everyday work, challenges us to be involved in the creative work of God through the work of our own hands.
In our formation for community life, the Holy Family is our model for a life based on mutual love and spiritual unity. The capacity to live in mutual love, which we received with our charism, is the greatest gift and at the same time the greatest task. That is why we constantly reflect on the words of our Foundress who presents to us the Holy Family as a model of a life of love which does not seek oneself, but is instead patient and kind (See 1Cor 13:1-13).
The work of our salvation is the fruit not only of Jesus’ death, but also of His whole life, including His life in Nazareth with Mary and Joseph. Salvation is a gift, but it is also a task. Those who first co-operated in this work were Mary and Joseph. Their role in this was unique. For us, the daughters of the Holy Family, the spreading of the Kingdom of God’s love becomes our main task. We fulfill this task through our prayer and by building, among ourselves and others, family relationships after the example of the life of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph. We go where the Church calls us so that the Kingdom of God, which Jesus brought from heaven to earth, will be spread among all peoples.
WAY OF LOVE, Ratio Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth