Finding new ways to communicate this message more effectively
I have just returned from the National Association of Family Life Ministers (NACFLM) annual conference. The theme this year was “Home is a Holy Place,” which was perfectly timed to tie into the emphasis Pope Francis has placed on the Church and clergy regarding ministering to, and communicating with, families in all of their different arrangements and configurations.
This got me to thinking about how families now communicate internally in this rapidly changing technological age. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and no matter what, every single family is holy. But it is sometimes difficult to remember that our families are holy when we seem more connected to our computers, cell phones and iPads than we do to each other.
Families today are experiencing a cultural tidal wave of communication methods that wash away the old bridges of family connections. Those everyday connections were built on verbal communication for the most part and we took them for granted. Today, basic forms of communication have been reduced to text messages or snap chats, tweets or Instagram photos. How are we supposed to encourage, enrich and inspire a faith-centered family life when no one will put down their cell phone? I am sure the invention of the telephone caused uproar and consternation in its day, too. We need to rethink how we share the presence of Christ in our homes and embrace the new electronic devices to do it.
Here are some thoughts on how we might be able to do just that: Consider texting a daily Scripture quote in a family group message, or send along information about the saint of the day in a message. At dinner ask your family members for their reflections on the Scripture passage or life of the saint. Discuss any correlation between the Scripture reading, or the saint of the day, and what is going on in their lives right now. If your family likes to use snap chats, send them pictures of a religious article around your house. Ask them to identify the object and what room it is in. Later, share with them where the item came from, why it is displayed in your home and why it is important. These are two very simple ideas on how to use technology to reinforce to your loved ones that your family is Christ-centered.
The main point here is to think about what is already happening in our homes, find the sacredness in it, and reinforce its sacredness to our families in any way that we can. There is holiness in our day-to-day family life but we have to put down our own cell phones or close down our own computers and look around to notice it. Remember, “Home is a Holy Place” when we welcome Christ as an active member of our family, no matter how we communicate with one another or what the shape and the size of our family might be.
Mrs. Christiana is coordinator of the diocesan Marriage Preparation and Enrichment Office.