This beautiful, potent, and important message for families was available only to Italian-speakers, so I was inspired and encouraged to share a translation of it with the world. Below is my English translation and the video in Italian if you would like to see the Bishop and listen along in Italian. If you find it helpful, please share it with others who may gain something from it. Our families need this today more than ever. God bless!
“Again, merry Christmas, friends.
At the center of the creche (manger scene) that we contemplate during these days, there is Jesus: God made man for our salvation. And in the grotto of the Nativity, next to Him, with Him, are Mary and Joseph, bound to one another by the Marital bond.
The word, “spouses” comes from the Latin, spondere, which means “to promise, to vow.” They are therefore a man and a woman bound by a pact that forms the family: the fundamental cell of society that has its origin in God’s very act of creation. God made the human being masculine and feminine. And we read, “Man will therefore leave his father and his mother and unite himself with his wife.” There is a family in that cave, and the Son of God is born into it, into this context of a covenant between a man and a woman. Jesus is the Son of God, but at the same time, He is their Son. Mary conceived Him through the operation of the Holy Spirit and brought Him forth into the light: She is his Mother. Joseph, husband of Mary, is his father on earth—even though he hadn’t generated Him in the flesh—and he lives his fatherhood in the Name of God Himself. Man grows up within the natural context of this spousal union between a man and a woman; God Himself, making Himself Man, assuming the Man seriously, wanted to do nothing less.
The Holy Family that we have before our eyes—above all during Christmastide—tells us that God and no one else is at the center of the family itself, and that all the rest—truly everything: the reciprocal love of the spouses, the love of the parents for their children, the commitment, the sacrifice: truly all either revolves around this Center, or does not fulfill its intended purpose. Without God, or just assigning Him a place as one of many elements and not being the Center and the Source of all, we lose the Foundation of family life. Our reference point thus becomes anything else but God: It can become myself, the self of each one of the two spouses, an egoism of the individual that deteriorates, cracks, and breaks the covenant. The center can become the couple itself: an egoism of their partnership as one entity. It can become the child or the children, but in relation to the expectations of the parents. Or it can become commitments and busyness, material comfort, or an infinity of other things. But in the end, it all reveals itself to be an attack on that covenant that has its root and its foundation in God.
Friends, may the Lord bless our families, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Holy Family, pray for us! Santa Famiglia, pregha per noi! Sancta Familia, ora pro nobis!
Most Rev. Edoardo Aldo Cerrato, C.O., Bishop of the Diocese of Ivrea, Italy, December 29th, 2021. Translation by Stephen Snyder, 1/3/2022. All Rights Reserved.