Faith and Family Inseparable

by Letty Jacinto-Lopez

In my teens, I heard Sunday Mass, twice. My mother observed a fixed timetable that could not be altered, and so did my father. To follow their respective Sunday schedule, they heard mass separately, with me as the constant companion. Our family kept a reverent devotion to the Sacred Heart in addition to father’s regular trek to Malate Church where he got down on his knees and prayed to the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. Father, relieved, consoled and recharged always said, “Our Lady will make it right.” And she did. In little ways, different, indistinct and muted, we built our faith.

There was a caveat, however.

Faith didn’t exempt or shield any member of the family from dealing with life’s challenges. The road was fraught with temptation and confusion, sometimes saddled with pain so intense that the heart literally broke into pieces and the mind, blown to smithereens. Just when we seemed to have reached the end of the rope, Faith “kicks” in. It was the boost, that shot in the arm, that made us hold fast to the iron rod. For every problem, there’s a solution. You only need to put your trust in the Spirit which leads you to do good, as you break through a maze of shadows and come out into the light, peaceful light.

At the Iglesia de Juan Bosco, Costa Rica, I was taken by the sight of a father who gathered his wife and children into a group hug, and with heads bowed, gave thanks. It was how they honored love, strengthening the revered bond among family.

When the pilgrim relics of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin made their maiden visit to the Philippines, it drew attention to a peculiar love story. Here was an ordinary family strengthened by faith amidst trials, insecurities, and tragedies. The best tribute came from St. Thérèse herself, “The good God gave me a father and mother worthy of Heaven than of earth.” Her family was her steadfast inspiration to seek and serve God.

I imagine Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, struggling through their own set of frailty and anxiety. Without their unbending Faith in a loving and merciful God Almighty, where would we be today? Like the Holy Family, may we trust in God to lead us every step of the way.

Loving Father, whenever we wander in strange paths and lose our way, guide us back to You. In Your mercy and kindness, bring us home, Amen.

As published in the February 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.