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The Wedding of Joseph and Mary

Salvific Households

by Patty Fitzsimmons

'Unless God builds the house, in vain do its builders toil over it.' (Psalm 127:1)

I am Mary, an ordinary woman whom God asked to live in the world and share a simple family life with Joseph. The only thing that God wanted from me was the gift of human love that people in families give to one another so that the "Word Made Flesh" might be brought up in the sacred environment of a salvific household.

One morning, during my hour of daily solitude, I was deep into prayer when my room was suddenly filled with a brilliant light. The angel Gabriel appeared to me with a greeting of peace. I was terrified by this apparition, but the angel's words were reassuring. Gabriel told me that I need not be afraid for God was with me. The angel announced that I had been chosen to conceive and bear a son and that this child was to be the "Son of the Most High. " I can not tell you how disturbing these words were to me. Overwhelming feelings of unworthiness filled my consciousness. How could this be? I am a simple woman living an ordinary life. I am totally inadequate to be the mother of my God. The angel responded with words of comfort and convinced me that I am enough. I did not have to be perfect or clever to serve my God. I began to realize that God loves me for who I am in spite of any imperfections. When I started to see myself through God's eyes, the eyes of love, I was able to perceive things differently. No longer did I need to let fear manage my life. The angel made it clear that God needed me to house the divine in my womb. I was able to give my consent to God's request because of my trust in God's love for me. "Be it done unto me according to Thy will." (Luke 1:31) This decision was not easy for me, but the moment I said yes to God, I felt a world of love born within me. It was the intimacy of a heavenly union. Matter and spirit were wed inside me. The ordinary made extraordinary, for nothing is impossible with God! My house became the house of God that day. Later on, my family began the journey of all the men and women before me who said yes to God and lived the sacred life in salvific households.

Abraham was a family man in ancient times who lived the sacred life. "It was by faith that he obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his entire household. By faith, he lived in this land with his family. " (Heb. 11:8-11) God assured Abraham of the significance of his household by telling him of the promise to "shower blessings on him and give him many descendants. " (Heb. 6:14-15) Equally by faith, Sarah contributed to God's plan. In spite of being past the age, she was able to conceive a child and thus continued the family line. Abraham and Sarah persevered in the salvific promise "while they looked forward to a city founded, designed, and built by God. " The faithful descendants from Abraham's household were as many as the stars in the heavens.

Ruth was a foreigner who said yes to a God of life. Her story bears witness to God who moves through the families of faithful servants to create a lineage of new life. By her choice to serve Naomi, her mother-in-law, Ruth won salvation for herself and her descendants.

Moses was a man chosen to lead his own family and the family of the House of Israel out of bondage and into the promised land. Moses made mistakes as we all do, but he chose to cooperate with God in a plan to bring freedom to God's people and furthered the salvific promise.

Let us not forget the great House of David who provided the continuing family genealogy from which my son descended. King David wanted to build a house for his God who dwelt in the Ark of the Covenant. But God told David that "Yahweh will make you a house. " (2 Samuel:12) God would preserve David's offspring after him and extend the promises for David's family to a far-distant future that would produce the Messiah. God remained with David in spite of his imperfections. David blessed God for his faithfulness when he prayed for his own household and all the sacred households to come, "Be pleased then to bless this House of your servant, that it may continue forever in your presence; for you Lord Yahweh have spoken; and with your blessing the House of you?lr servant will be blessed forever. " (2 Samuel: 28-29)

I am Mary, an ordinary woman. I go now to the blessed home of Elizabeth and Zachariah to share my good news. God was born in me, a vulnerable human creature, and it is God's will today that the divine be born into the ordinary life of every human being. My fiat was for all humanity and each one of you must echo it in your own households. We are called to let go of all we are to the Spirit of Love so that our homes might bear witness in the world to Christ who is alive in us. God knows that your family is not perfect. My family was not perfect either, yet each of us worked together to be authentic and grew in wholeness as we kept our eyes on Christ. We looked for what was life-giving in the good times and in the chaotic ones. We learned to respect our differences and live in harmony by stepping into our conflicts and resolving them peacefully. We found consolation in prayer and service to one another as you will. Give God your daily activities, your thoughts, your service to one another, your words, your hearts, your waking and sleeping, your working, and all your joys and sorrows as I did. Let God make your house a dwelling place for all that is sacred. Live in God's presence and your family will become a salvific household, a Christ-filled environment of transforming love.

May God bless you and your household with new life and love!

Patty Fitzsimmons, (now Patty Fitzsimmons-Snyder) has created a web site entitled: Transformation Center for Family Spirituality As she explains: "We invite you to join us and participate in a new understanding of a spiritual vision and intentional lifestyle for authentic family living in the twenty first century."

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