"Some ideas on prayer in the Holy Family" are found in the Gospel narratives: Luke tells of the Presentation at the Temple: "When the days of the ritual purification were over they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord." "Like every Jewish family according to the law the parents of Jesus go to the temple to consecrate the firstborn to God and to offer sacrifice." Theirs was "a pilgrimage of faith and prayer," and "the offering was that of simple families: two pigeons."
Of life of the Holy Family, the Pope highlighted in particular the "contemplation of Christ" that "has its unsurpassed model in Mary." "The eyes of her heart are focused on him already at the Annunciation, when she conceived him by the Holy Spirit in the following months and gradually felt his presence, until the day of birth, when her eyes locked with motherly tenderness on the face of her Son, and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. The memories of Jesus, set in her mind and heart, marked every moment of Mary's life. She lives with her eyes fixed on Christ, and treasures his every word. " Luke writes that she "kept all these things and pondered them in her heart" with "an attitude that will last throughout her existence." This image "shows Mary as the model for every believer who maintains and meditates on the words and actions of Jesus, a mediation that is always advancement in knowledge of Him."
Mary's spirituality is "contagious: the first to be drawn is Joseph. He was already a good man with a unique relationship with God. " After the encounter with the angel, "he joins his life to the plan of salvation, doing the will of God with confident trust." The Gospel does not have any of Joseph’s words. "His presence is a silent but faithful one, constant, hard-working. We can imagine that he, like his bride, and in intimate harmony with her, lived the childhood and adolescence of Jesus savoring, so to speak, his presence in their family. Joseph has fully accomplished his paternal role in every aspect. Surely he taught Jesus to pray together with Mary. He, in particular, would have brought him to the synagogue, to take part in the rites of the Sabbath, as well as to Jerusalem, for the great feasts of the people of Israel. " Joseph, according to tradition, will have lead the daily prayer in the home, as well as during the major religious festivals. " From him, "Jesus learned to alternate work and prayer, and offer to God even the fatigue of earning the daily bread for the family."
And when Jesus was 12 years old, he traveled with his family to the Temple of Jerusalem. "This incident took place in the context of a pilgrimage" that's performed every year, and the evangelist notes that "the family of Jesus participated each year in ceremonies in the Holy City. The Jewish family, as the Christian family, prays in the intimacy of the home, but also prays with the community, recognizing the pilgrim People of God. "
In the episode " the first words of Jesus are also recorded: Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? ". The word "Father" is "the key to the mystery of Christian prayer: here, when Jesus is still fully integrated into the life of the family of Nazareth, it is important to note what resonance this may have had in the hearts of Mary and Joseph heard from the mouth of Jesus the word 'Father', "and when Jesus teaches us to pray to God he tells us to turn to him as" Father. "
Since then, "life in the Holy Family was even more filled with prayer." "The Holy Family of Nazareth - continued the Pope - is the first model of the Church in which, around the presence of Jesus and through his mediation, we all experience a filial relationship with God, which also transforms our relationships. " "The family - he concluded - is the domestic church and must be the first school of prayer." For this reason we must "rediscover the beauty of praying together as a family in the school of the Holy Family of Nazareth and thus truly become one heart and one soul, a real family."