Families come in all shapes and sizes. Some are rather large in number while others are relatively small. There are biological families and extended families. We speak of humankind as God’s family. There’s the family of nations; the Royal Family; and the Holy Family, i.e. Jesus, Mary and Joseph––the prime example or model of family life for us to imitate.
But no matter what description fits your family, there are some things that are common to all: the sense of belonging, identity, custom and tradition that together contribute to the forming of our personal story––of who we are and where we come from.
Families never remain static, but rather evolve and change with the addition of new members. Families must adjust and adapt to different circumstances and situations, oftentimes difficult and trying. Every family has its own particular history, replete with vice and virtue, tragedy and triumph.
Fundamental to all families is a certain kinship that transcends differences while honoring individual charisms, traits, and character. A current of mutual love and respect flows through the family environment, breathing life into its members by instilling in them a sense of worth and value, affiliation and connection.
The family is key to any society. In fact it is often termed, the fundamental building block of society. We all belong to a family, regardless of number, status or sanctity. We all have been given the gift of life through the cooperation of our parents and thus were brought into a family. Whether we live under the same roof, or are separated by time and space, the fact that each one of us belongs to a family forever remains unchanged. Membership commences with conception and is perpetuated unto eternity.
Br. Brian Sullivan recently professed his vows as a Capuchin friar. He has joined a new family, one that strives to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis and live the gospel values by embracing the vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. His immediate family recently joined in the celebration of his first profession. Now Br. Brian is serving in the local church and hospital as a Capuchin brother witnessing to the joyful reality of an extended family of friars.
Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit to share the same calling, we foster a sense of brotherhood throughout the entire Order through common prayer and action, particularly in our provincial and local communities. We cultivate that same sense toward all our brothers and sisters, whether religious or secular, who with us form one single Franciscan family.”
(Capuchin Constitutions 13:3)