Happy feast of the presentation of Jesus (Feb. 2)! We celebrate this Christmas feast pointing back to the solemnity of Jesus’ birth 40 days ago. Today is also a very special day for me – I consecrated myself to St. Joseph! I began Fr. Don Calloway‘s 33-day program of preparation and consecration on January 1, 2021, the solemnity of Mary, mother of God, and did my consecration today. When the crazy 2020 was about to end, I was reflecting on how I can be more present to Jesus and my family, and it led me to St. Joseph!
It was such a blessing that I got to spend my Christmas break with family. Spending time with them also helped me see their joys, struggles, and even wounds that we share. Back in July, my mother was rushed to the hospital and my siblings have been taking care of her ever since – and this was in the middle of the COVID lockdown. Burned out, they decided to come home to Cebu for a few months to take a breather. After a lot of prayer, I moved out of my community house, St. Anne’s, to stay with them.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make. My community has really given me the support to grow, and I won’t have them around anymore. I knew that it was going to be demanding living with family again, and that I won't be able to choose my own terms. I knew that my family knows the unedited version of me and would reveal my lack of virtue. But I also knew that God was calling me to go home and He gave me peace when I made the decision. It was clear to me that God wasn’t asking me to solve my family’s issues, but to be present for them. Knowing that a good number of my friends and their loved ones cannot be together due to the pandemic, I thank God for this gift of family time. I also thank Him for the gift of the Holy Family!
The month of February is also traditionally dedicated in the Church to the Holy Family. In today's feast, we see the Holy Family go to the temple in Jerusalem together for the Presentation of Jesus. I have always been inspired by the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Holy Family is a reminder of how God gives importance to the family, sending Jesus by way of a family. Jesus was able to see God’s love through Mary and Joseph. This shows God’s love for family life. No matter the case of our family, God wants to enter more deeply into our family life and desires to give us strength and virtue to live as the Holy Family.
I am blessed to have journeyed with St. Joseph in all of this. He reminds me not to get discouraged and to always trust in God. God has led me here – at home, to grow in love and be a gift to my family. May our presence always be a present to others, especially our family.
Written by Audrey Abatol. Audrey is the Executive Director of Pure Heart Philippines, and has been a full-time missionary since 2017.