God created the traditional natural and supernatural Catholic family to keep us happy. Right off in the Old Testament, we see Adam and Eve having each other so they would not be lonely and to populate the earth. The Old Testament has genealogies to show us that we are related and belong to a large family.
Noah and his extended family, were saved together as a family, from the God’s just punishment of the flood. Abraham and his wife wanted a large family. God promised him many many descendants (family). Finally they had a son. But then God tested Abraham to see if his Natural family was more important than the giver of the family by asking him to sacrifice his only progeny. But it was only a test, and God blessed Abraham, through Isaac, with children more numerous than the stars in the sea and grains of sand on the seashore.
Isaac only had two children, Jacob and Esau. But Jacob had twelve sons, the fathers of the twelve families (tribes) of Israel. In Egypt this family grew and grew because God blessed Abraham’s seed, (family). This caused the pagan Egyptians to be jealous and fearful of there big families, so they forced them to kill all the male born children. For this God then punished them by killing off every firstborn of their families.
Psalm 127 clearly demonstrates God’s love for large families: “Blessed are all those who fear the Lord: that walk in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labors of thy hands: blessed are thou, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife as a fruitful vine, on the side of the house. Thy children as olive plants, around about the table.” Vs. 1-3. This sums up the Biblical view of the blessing of many children in a large family and the curse of sterility and small families.
The New Testament begins by St. Matthew writing about Jesus’ Natural family (genealogy). His cousin is John the Baptist. The apostles are also named by their father like “Simon Bar Jonah” which means “Simon son of Jonah”. Jesus and all the characters in the New Testament are part of Natural families.
His first miracle was at a marriage. The parable of the Prodigal Son is placed in the context of a loving family being separated by sin and then being reunited by repentance. Jesus raises the little girl, the young man and Lazarus to reunite them with their family and make them happy again.
But Jesus then goes on to teach us that the SuperNatural family is even more important than the Natural family. He asks us to leave, father and mother, brother and sister to follow Him. He tells the young man who asks if he can go an say goodbye to his family, that he would not be fit for the Kingdom of God if he looked back (home). Women would also leave their families and travel with Jesus, taking care of His financial needs.
Jesus taught us to call God “Our Father” and that we should not call any man on earth “father”. But He also told the rich young man to “honor his father and mother”. This was not to destroy the Natural family, but to help us realize that our SuperNatural and eternal family is with God the Father in heaven.
Jesus also says that in heaven “there is neither marriage or taking in marriage”. He also says some are Eunuchs because they were made that way, but others are Eunuchs (Virgins) for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Jesus never was married. He did this to show us that marriage is good, but celibacy is even better because it reflects the eternal happiness that is not dependent on the natural family and a billion times better than sex.
In the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles we find families getting converted and being baptized together. We hear that no one is to prohibit marriage, but that being single is superior because it allows one to give their whole heart and life to service of the Gospel.
We hear how husband and wives are to love each other and how children are to love and obey their parents. There is the suggestion to widows to stay unmarried to serve the apostles.
As Jesus was dying, He gave his mother to his beloved disciple. This last loving act of His was forming a new SuperNatural family between Mary and St. John, based on discipleship, faith and love, rather than blood. At this movement, He also gave us Mary as our heavenly mother too. We are so blessed to have God, Our Father and Mary, our heavenly mother. God and Mary are way more concerned about our temporal and eternal wellbeing than the best holy parents could ever be.
It is obvious that God created the large family unit to give us a safe place where we can belong and be loved. But He also asks us to leave this great Natural gift for a higher form of family, found in the priesthood and consecrated religious life.
Before and after Jesus’ death and resurrection, men would leave their families and everything to go to all the ends of the world to preach the Gospel. But He also sent them out two by two so that they would not be alone. Shortly after, many other men started leaving the world’s wealth and temptations to becoming monks in the desert. They removed themselves far away for wars, greed, sexual temptations, to totally dedicate their lives to prayer, sacrifice and service to others. Eventually these “New Catholic Families” grew into enormous monasteries. The Benedictine Monasteries would at times number up to 10,000 monks. They would also accept boys and men to work and pray (Ora et Labora) together living the vows of silence, poverty, chastity and obedience.
Women communities were formed too, where girls and women also prayed and worked together. This was a great gift from the Catholic Church to society, because it gave women another vocation that was even higher than the vocation to marriage.
Today we traditional Catholics want to protect marriage from the attack of the devil and society. Jesus said that; “as in the beginning, God made them man and woman and they leave their parents to form one” in Holy Marriage. He also said that it is God who unites them and that no one may divide what He has united.
But we also recognize the greater Eternal family of priests and consecrated religious. We pray for the return of huge monasteries of men and boys, women and girls, totally dedicated to silence, prayer, teaching, healing and work. Yes there has been terrible sexual abuse by priests in and out of religious orders, but this has also happened in marriage too. We pray for the return of holy vocations that truly live the vows of chastity, obedience and poverty.
Gonzales Family in the Cristeros and the two boys with circles around them were martyrs.
Almost all of the great religious, medical, artistic, cultural, academic, architectural and agricultural advancements in human history were achieved by these new families of Monks and Nuns in the Mideast and Europe. Whether you agree with this or not, your opinion will never take away the archeological and historical evidence present everywhere in the world where the Catholic Church has left great edifices and knowledge.
Monks would live in the worst areas of swamps and would drain them and grow food in them. Because all these men, boys, women and girls sacrificed their Natural families to be free to pray and work for the Glory of God all this was made possible to be accomplish.
This is why we traditional Catholics love the great traditional cathedrals, altars, religious art, gregorian music, chalices and vestments. We love traditional religious orders who live the vows of poverty, obedience and chastity as they promised when they entered.
So no matter what family you belong to, Natural, SuperNatural, married, single, single parent, orphan, many children, one child, divorced, widowed, God loves you and wants you to find His family and know happiness and love. For the married families it is found through traditional Catholic teaching on marriage on love and order. For those single and single parents it is by obeying God and trying the best to be holy and do God’s will everyday.
Priests and religious obtain this through the daily renewal of their consecration to God in chastity and love for all. But for all of us, we need to remind ourselves that we have a larger family, our Catholic Family. We need to show love to each other no matter if we are traditional or not. We need to show love to those close to us in our Natural family and at the same time reach out to our SuperNatural family at Holy Mass every Sunday. Then we are to serve with love the separated family who are not Catholic and the poor by sharing truth and our worldly goods.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.