When I say the word "family," what does that mean to you? Do bad images and memories surface or do we tend to smile and laugh because we know they are....family? Well, the truth is that whatever image you happen to conjure up, it is not the fullness of the image because family is what we are made for!
To grab the full meaning of what family is we have to go to...."the beginning." We have to go all the way back to the creation account in Genesis. Now, I am not going to try to argue for the literal meaning of the text (that will be in another rant!), but, I am going to say there is something there! I believe the writer of the sacred text is getting not so much as the "how" things were made, but "why" things are made. Let us look at the text itself (for you biblical theologians- synchronically; as opposed to the diachronic approach).
Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. . ." (Genesis 1:26–28).
What is happening here? In short, man is made in the "Imago Dei", the image of God. St. Augustine of Hippo states, "“For why the our, if the Son is the image of the Father alone? But it is on account...that man might be an image of the Trinity.”(De Trinitatae) See, we are made in the image of the Trinity!
That leads to a question; what in the world is the Trinity? The Catechism names the Trinity as a "central mystery of the Christian faith...It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith’ . . .” (CCC 234). Now, I can absolutely draw out the divine essence, plurality of persons, the relationality, etc. Believe me, I have an MA in Systematic Theology, not to mention working on one in Philosophy now. I can explain in The Trinity in our fine tradition, but not here. Here is where I want to introduce you to one of my heroes. He is one of the greatest theologians and philosophers of our time. His name is Karol Wojtyla. You may know him as Blessed JPII.
He has a quote that I think draws the point home:
“God in his deepest mystery is not a solitude but a family, since he has in himself fatherhood, sonship and the essence of the family which is love.”
I want you to notice something. He doesn't state God is "LIKE" a family. He states, God IS a family. See, 2/3rds of the Godhead are named family names. Father, being the eternal, omniscient, Creator, pours out his love on the Son. The Son, being the second person of the Trinity, reciprocates that love perfectly. The love that is shared between them is so real, so true; it is given a name...the Holy Spirit. It is a family of love, because God is love (1Jn4)
JPII states in his Letter to the Family, "Humanity images God in the family.” See, our families are not perfect, and that is OK. But, in God, perfection simply "is". God is the perfection of all our families and we are made in this image. So, we are made for the family!
The next time you look at your family and bad or good image come up. Think of this statement:
“[God] willed man and woman to be the prime community of persons, source of every other community, and, at the same time, to be a ‘sign’ of that interpersonal communion of love which constitutes the mystical, intimate life of God, One in Three."(Christifideles Laici)
We are made for Family, because we are made in the image of the Trinity, and the Trinity is the family. The question is; are you living for what you were made for?