As you get close to the church which enshrines the Holy Family’s House in Loreto Italy you are greeted with this sixteenth century inscription on the eastern facade of the basilica.
“You have before your eyes the Holy House of Loreto, venerable throughout the world on account of the Divine mysteries accomplished in it and the glorious miracles herein wrought. It is here that most holy Mary, Mother of God, was born; here that she was saluted by the Angel, here that the eternal Word of God was made Flesh. Angels conveyed this House from Palestine to the town Tersatoin Illyria in the year of salvation 1291 in the pontificate of Nicholas IV. Three years later, in the beginning of the pontificate of Boniface VIII, it was carried again by the ministry of angels and placed in a wood near this hill, in the vicinity of Recanti, in the March of Ancona; where having changed its station thrice in the course of a year, at length, by the will of God, it took up its permanent position on this spot three hundred years ago [now, of course, more than 600].
Though the rough walls of the little building have been raised in height and are cased externally in richly sculptured marble, the interior measures only thirty-one feet by thirteen.
In 1894 Pope Leo XIII stated: “The happy House of Nazareth is justly regarded and honoured as one of the most sacred monuments of the Christian Faith; and this is made clear by the many diplomas and acts, gifts and privileges accorded by Our predecessors. No sooner was it, as the annals of the Church bear witness, miraculously translated to Italy and exposed to the veneration of the faithful on the hills of Loreto than it drew to itself the fervent devotion and pious aspiration of all, and as the ages rolled on, it maintained this devotion ever ardent.”
The arguments which sustain the popular belief in this miraculous transference of the Holy House from Palestine to Italy by the hands of angels, we may enumerate the following points:
(1) The reiterated approval of the tradition by many different popes from Julius II in 1511 down to the present day. This approval was emphasized liturgically by an insertion in the Roman Martyrologium in 1669 and the concession of a proper Office and Mass in 1699, and it has been ratified by the deep veneration paid to the shrine by such holy men as St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis de Sales, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and many other servants of God.
(2) Loreto has been for centuries the scene of numerous miraculous cures. Even the skeptical Montaigne in 1582 professed himself a believer in the reality of these (Waters, “Journal of Montaigne’s Travels”, II, 197-207).
(3) The stone on which the original walls of the Santa Casa are built and the mortar used in their construction are not such as are known in the neighborhood of Loreto. But both stone and mortar are, it is alleged, chemically identical with the materials most commonly found in Nazareth.
(4) The Santa Casa does not rest and has never rested upon foundations sunk into the earth where it now stands. The point was formally investigated in 1751 under Benedict XIV. What was then found is therefore fully in accord with the tradition of a building transferred bodily from some more primitive site.” 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia.
If they are our examples, could it be true that happiness does not come by the size of the home, but rather the prayers and love of those who dwell in the home.
Too many Catholics are living under great financial stress. Many mothers work and neglect their husbands and children because they think they will be happy in a large home. We have much to learn from the happiness of the Holy Family who lived so modestly.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.