One strong foundation of society is the family, its basic cell. However, in the Philippines, this foundation is being undermined since there are many broken families due to circumstances and difficult situations. One common cause of these broken families is the departure of a parent for work abroad as an OFW to support his family back home.

Almost all Filipino families – if not all of them – have a relative and/or a close friend abroad. This creates a problem as, usually, their family becomes dysfunctional. Many Filipino children consequently grow up with only a mother or a father at home, or with their aunts, uncles or grandparents.

This lack of a parent can readily affect their psychological growth and maturity causing problems like drug addiction or extravagant spending habits without a qualm. The results can be felt much later when these problems worsen, causing much pressure and stress on, and added expenses for the family.

What can we indeed do as individuals or groups to prevent our families from falling apart? The Catholic Church has, for example, a pastoral care program for families which
we ourselves can get involved in. The Church also offers marriage encounter programs, counselling services through CEFAM (Center for Family Ministries), the Couples for Christ and also the Focolare’s New Family Movement.

As individuals, we can try to love one person at a time, like lending a listening ear to a person in need of empathy. We can’t try to save families and the whole world while the person next to us – our neighbour – is dying from loneliness, or depression and feeling abandoned because he lost someone, or when his parent left for work abroad. We don’t need to imagine and invent situations as they are so real and all around us.

Once, 2,000 years ago, there was a family that went around knocking at the doors of inns and houses, for the mother was about to give birth to her firstborn child, a son. People were busy, and paid no heed to them, even drove them away, not knowing that from that family, would come the Saviour of the world. Let us not miss an opportunity to save a person’s life, or a family, for we know that there is a presence of the Divine in everyone, and in each family.

Therefore, we may never know what the future has in store for them and for their children. Indeed, we always find joy and peace when we love without expecting anything in return, as we have lived up to our dignity as children of God.

What we should not fail to see is that the family, just like the Holy Family, should somehow be a mirror of the life of the Trinity on earth.

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