January is nearly over and the new year has come and gone, but happy new year still to you all. This year, as in most years I have set goals, I refuse to call them resolutions as they never resolve to much, but I do set some nebulous sort of goals. One of the things I’m always striving for is to have a better family life. We all have families, whether they are still alive, the ones God chose for us or the ones we have chosen ourselves. Human as we are, we are social beings and we crave some sort of family in which to belong. The Church teaches that the family is the first church, the smallest unit of society at which we can effect change, the place where people are born, their consciences formed and hopefully their faith nurtured. It is also the place we are to learn to love unconditionally. even if they are on my last nerve I do love my family, I may not say or show it much but it’s true, I love them warts and all. I’m also especially hard on them, because I want so much for them. Doesn’t always translate well though, I always end up being the bossy sister, daughter, cousin, in-law… oh well.

I find it very difficult to relate to some of my family members and find it especially hard to forgive them for any wrongdoing, real or imagined, even more so than forgiving strangers. As of the last year I’ve also become somewhat a hermit. Working from home allows me to do this; I don’t have to meet or talk to anyone and I certainly don’t go visiting. As such I know very little that goes on in most of my family members lives. Having been a boarder in high-school also means I can go for weeks without calling home and go into a panic when I see a message from my mom asking if I’m still around and I try to calculate when the last time I called was. As I was challenging myself on how to make my familial relationships better, the year of the family rolled in. All of the first weeks of January’s readings this year seemed to strike a chord of resonance within me,especially those on honoring our parents on the feast of the Holy Family, especially the reading from Sirach…

Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
–a house raised in justice to you.

Let’s just say it convicted me and I kept falling short when asking myself if I did even half of what this reading says. And then my parish priest gave us the calendar, yet another sign to focus on family.

Year of the Family Planner

Year of the Family Planner

Yes that is the calendar/ year planner all families at church got. In a bid to foster family unity and better our families, the calendar sets out challenges or themes per month for us to focus on, in the hopes that as the year draws to a close our families will be stronger and indeed be the home church where faith and love is nurtured. The first month was about beginning, the theme is “Committed to a good start” (February is Committed to Love by the by). So I have begun, first by saying I forgive my family members, as often as I can to myself, till one day it actually happens. Second by getting in touch, I took my nieces out for frozen yogurt and have set up tea dates with other family members and friends. Oh boy I guess it’s good-bye to hermit life.

What beginning have you made for this new year, especially as regards your family?

Diana Chigumba

About Diana Chigumba

Diana is a radically pro-life catholic young fogey! Enjoying life and seeing where the good Lord leads is her passion, thou at times she wants to take control and finds it difficult to follow or hear Him.

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