As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, one jewel of a beautiful necklace, so to speak, of feasts and memorials within the Christmas season, I offer you an exceptionally brief yet nevertheless powerful excerpt from a papal letter that turned 25 earlier this year, Pope Saint John Paul’s Gratissimam Sane (Letter to Families), wherein he employs a masterful term: the genealogy of the person.
Section 9. Through the communion of persons which occurs in marriage, a man and a woman begin a family. Bound up with the family is the genealogy of every individual: the genealogy of the person. Human fatherhood and motherhood are rooted in biology, yet at the same time transcend it. The Apostle, with knees bowed "before the Father from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named", in a certain sense asks us to look at the whole world of living creatures, from the spiritual beings in heaven to the corporeal beings on earth. Every act of begetting finds its primordial model in the fatherhood of God. Nonetheless, in the case of man, this "cosmic" dimension of likeness to God is not sufficient to explain adequately the relationship of fatherhood and motherhood. When a new person is born of the conjugal union of the two, he brings with him into the world a particular image and likeness of God himself: the genealogy of the person is inscribed in the very biology of generation.
In affirming that the spouses, as parents, cooperate with God the Creator in conceiving and giving birth to a new human being, we are not speaking merely with reference to the laws of biology. Instead, we wish to emphasize that God himself is present in human fatherhood and motherhood quite differently than he is present in all other instances of begetting "on earth". Indeed, God alone is the source of that "image and likeness" which is proper to the human being, as it was received at Creation. Begetting is the continuation of Creation.
And so, both in the conception and in the birth of a new child, parents find themselves face to face with a "great mystery" (cf. Eph 5:32). Like his parents, the new human being is also called to live as a person; he is called to a life "in truth and love". This call is not only open to what exists in time, but in God it is also open to eternity. This is the dimension of the genealogy of the person which has been revealed definitively by Christ, who casts the light of his Gospel on human life and death and thus on the meaning of the human family.
Blessings to all the families of the parish and your extended families.
P.S. As a courtesy to parishioners, this year you will not need to request a copy of your monetary contributions for the year completing. We will send a document acknowledging your generosity to each and every household, in gratitude for your financial stewardship.
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