Recently my sister asked if I wanted my DNA tested for ancestry and handed me one of those kits from Ancestry.com. The results showed Italy/Sicily 50 percent; Ireland/Scotland 43 percent (narrowing it to Cork and Munster); France at four percent; and England/Wales/Northwestern Europe at three.
That was interesting because my mother came up mostly Italian/Sicilian (86 percent) but had a few markers I didn’t, from Turkey, Morocco, and the Middle East. A bit of a surprise.
Much more of a surprise was in store for an aunt (by marriage) who thought she was full Italian yet came up sixty percent English (her family was from the northern part of Italy, which was once under British rule). Her daughter had a bit of African blood.
The accuracy of such tests is up for a debate, of course (what these days is not), but amazing it was to see how they tied members of our family with others who have taken the test and are related to us, closely or distantly. Some we never heard of — yet have surnames that connected to our grandparents.
The point of all this is not genetics so much as showing, in many cases, how little we know about our pasts — how while we may have a general idea, there are often surprises, for through history, different peoples invaded various countries. In the case of Italy and southern Europe, there were repeated incursions from Scandinavians, Germanic types (Goths, Vandals, barbarians) and Turks; Muslims from Morocco and elsewhere once swarmed over region. Now throw in too the Greeks.
Did you know that Britain’s royal family is German?
If one looks into yet more detail, there are even more “ingredients.” Everyone is related to everyone else. We are all part of an original family. Should it be surprising that DNA tests might show someone from Italy with Middle Eastern traits when the Garden of Eden is thought to have been in present-day Iraq?
If one believes paleoanthropologists (and we should be fairly skeptical of them), we all derive from deepest Africa (or so says mitochondrial DNA).
No need for any more technicalities. What we need to take from it is not only how little we know about our deep family lineages genetically, but more importantly, how little we know of our spiritual inheritance — who are ancestors were and what they did. Were there saints? Criminals? Never mind DNA: what spiritually did they leave us?
For spiritual markers follow through the generations just as nucleotides do, and often cause bigger problems than anything physical. Obsessions, addictions, wrong inclinations — lying, cheating, stealing, greed, adultery, divorce, financial woe, anger, sometimes violence. Or on the other hand, talents and holiness: a reason, perhaps, why priests often run deep (or perhaps better said high) into family trees.
Lord, let me retain what was good that passed down and purge what was not: what has brought darkness. A simple prayer.
Others can be found in a very valuable little prayer booklet, Intergenerational Healing Rosary, by an Argentinian priest, Father Gustavo Jamut, which brilliantly uses each Our Father and Hail Mary of the Rosary to address specific generational matters — from any anger, pride, or lust and hurts and imperfections, going back, through each prayer, fifteen paternal generations and fifteen maternal ones, each dedicated to various potential problems we may have and may not even recognize. Abuse, loneliness, rape, sexual assault: anything that may have left a residue through female relatives — including witchcraft.
How can we know the issues that plagued great-great-great-great-great grandmothers — in places around the world we don’t even know about, even when testing DNA?
Those who try to dismiss this as unbiblical should (instead of dismissing it all in hasty reaction) make certain to reread the entire Bible with this notion in mind or study a book by Scriptural scholar Father John Hampsch who found dozens of places where the Old and New Testaments support and even establish the idea.
It’s fascinating. We’ll all discover our lineages in full array when we die. We will meet our ancestors. Our task on earth is to purge our family trees so that negative aspects are not passed on to our children and grandchildren and so on. One deliverance minister said he met a man “who had seven spirits which manifested through him. He had ‘willed’ these spirits into his teenage son.” And that’s where they went when he died.
In the end the booklet leads prayers of enlightenment for holiness and health, this by a priest who was appointed by now-Pope Francis to oversee Argentina’s charismatic movement. It is recommended. So many negatives may weigh us down, negatives we don’t realize!
“We thank You, Lord, for the healing of all generations,” is one final prayer. “Thanks for the fruits of peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, moderation, and self-control. Thank You, Lord, for all the love we have received from our ancestors. Thank You, Lord, for healing us and setting us free.”
[resources: Intergenerational Healing Rosary]