The attack on marriage is really an attack on the human person, and his dignity, for the devil seeks to pervert our true purpose, to pervert God's holy design. For many of us, we cannot march in protests or write dozens of letters or call numerous times to urge legislators to vote for the Truth. But one thing we can all do is pray and fast. We have designated one day each week to fast for these intentions:

1. That marriage may be preserved, promoted, and understood as God's plan for creation.

2. For all marriages that they may reflect the love of the Trinity.

3. For broken marriages that Christ bring healing and conversion to the spouses' souls.

4. For those who are married, for the sanctification of their marriage and their spouse. For those who are single, for their future spouse and vocation.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 7th Fast

"When one reads of the tremendous transformation of souls in the sacrament of Matrimony, one realizes that through them, as well as in a life specifically ascetic and detached, such as in the monastery and the cloister, there can be a fiery and ardent love of God.  There is a story to this effect about St. Marcarius, the Egyptian hermit, who one day in his meditations wondered to what degree of holiness and union with God his solitude and years of fasting and prayer had lifted him.  Falling asleep, he was told by an angel that he had not reached the level of holiness of two women who lived in a nearby town of whom he should learn.  Greatly interested, St. Macarius went to the town and found the women and, to his great astonishment, found that they were married.  He entreated them to tell the secret of their sanctity, but the two women, greatly confused, assured him that there was nothing remarkable about them:  "We are but poor wives amidst worldly cares."   But Macarius pressed his question and asked them how they came to be so holy in the eyes of God.  Their answer was that for fifteen years they had been married to two brothers and had lived together under the same roof, never once quarreling nor permitting a single unpleasant word to pass between them.  Thus did St. Macarius learn that peaceful cohabitation can be even more praiseworthy in the eyes of God than solitary fasting and prayer."  (Three to Get MarriedArchbishop Fulton Sheen)

Blessed John Henry Newman said,
". . . faith at most only makes us a hero, but that love makes a saint; that faith can put us above the world, but that love brings us under God's throne; that faith can make us sober, but love makes us happy."
 What places us apart as Christians?  Is it our belief in dogmas?  Our attachment to devotions?  Secularists can boast of believing in dogmatic ideas, and give over themselves to disciplines.  What must separate us, is our love for Christ.  What must infuse our life, our vocations, is our great love for Him who redeemed us from our sinful state; and likewise, loving others because Christ begged for their life as well. "This is how all will know you are my disciples, if you have love for another." (Jn 13:35)  

Having a holy marriage and raising a holy family is not guaranteed by a singular fidelity to the commandments.  A couple, and a family can only grow in holiness if love permeates the beautiful teachings Christ gave us for family life. Living a vocation solely out of duty will eventually yield dryness, bitterness, and anxiety.  But one lived with love and fidelity will produce a fertile soil that will reap a harvest of lasting fruits: joy, peace, patience, and charity.  Love that is forgiving, humble, obedient, self-denying is not the "love" of the world, it is the love of Christ, and the only love that will bring peace to our homes, and eternal happiness to our families.