Deepening The Understanding Of Marriage - November 2011

Home   Priest's desk   Church Theme   History of Parish   Life of St. Francis   Capuchins   Parish Structure   Ministries   BECs   Sacraments   Way Of The Cross   Weekly Bulletin   Year Planner   Parish Renewal Experience   Our Location   Prayers of St. Francis   Church Building Project   Franciscan For Justice And Peace   Inter-Religious Dialogue   New Hymns   Psalms   Vocation Promotion Team   Youth Website   Events   Others   Contact Us   Webmail
Deepening The Understanding Of Marriage
with Rev. Fr. Andrew Manickam OFM cap

Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, repeats again for our modern ears the truth that each and every one of us is called to holiness, called to be a Saint. Saints are not meant to be isolated, rare individuals. You don't have to be a monk and shave your head, or a contemplative nun to be a Saint. Every single one of us, no matter who we are or what we do is called to be "perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect". That is what God expects from us! That is what we are called to strive for throughout our entire lives! So many of us are happy to live each day just getting by when it comes to God and our Faith. We go to Sunday Mass, we pray every once in a while. But "holiness", "piety", "sanctity" ... no thanks, too hard, too different! Who wants to walk around with a halo on their head?!

There's a tendency to think that holiness is for the Pope and priests and nuns who give up their lives for God, for people who lived in another age when there were kings and queens and crusades and inquisitions. People who have day jobs and are married with children just don't have time for all that praying and helping the poor and smiling at everyone. You can't wear sackcloth to work! Maybe this view has arisen because so many of the Church's great Saints are priests and monks and nuns. But don't forget all the married Saints as well. Our Patron Saint, St Thomas More was a married man. He died for his faith and for refusing to renounce allegiance to the Holy Father leaving behind a wife and several children.

And the Holy Father is doing his level best to increase the number of canonized married Saints. He has canonized so many Saints in his 19 years as Pope (and may he reign for many more!) that Cardinal Oddi recently commented that he thought the Vatican had turned into a Saint Factory! The Holy Father wants us to have contemporary role models who have lived in our era and our circumstances and still achieved sanctity to show us all it is possible. The cause for the beatification of the parents of St Therese of Lisieux is well progressed. A number of Italian lay women who were wives and mothers have also recently been canonized or beatified. Then there are the countless faithful Christian husbands and wives down through the centuries who have lived holy, heroic lives without inviting fame or renown. And of course, we mustn't forget the happiest couple of all, the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph, were husband and wife.

Marriage should not be an obstacle to our growth in holiness. The Church teaches very clearly that God gives us marriage as a way of becoming holy.

So, if you're married, or think that's what God has planned for you, there's no excuse! You still have to be a Saint, and use your marriage as the means to that end, not as the excuse if you don't make it!


Part 2 Vocation

One of the other things that makes Catholic marriage different is that it is a true Vocation.

Most of us tend to think that only Vocations to the priesthood or religious life are Vocations. That may be because the vast majority of people marry rather than live a life totally devoted to God. It may be because of the notoriety of the supposed shortage of Vocations to the priesthood in the Western World. It may be because the Church has always affirmed that a Vocation to Consecrated Virginity or Celibacy is more exalted than a Vocation to the married state.

Nevertheless, it is very clear that the Church teaches that God has a plan for each of us which He invites us to participate in. He created us, He knows us through and through, and He has a special role for each of us in this life. A select few, He calls to live lives devoted entirely to Him so that we can all have a foretaste of how He wants us all to live in entire union with Him in Heaven. Many others He calls to be married, so that we have someone to help and to help us reach Heaven, and so that we can beget even more Saints.

But, whatever we are called to be, it is clear that God is calling us to some particular state in life. Each of us must pray hard to discern what our Vocation in life is. And once we have discerned it, we must embrace it wholeheartedly.

OK, now how much more dignified does marriage seem already: it's not just something you fall into: God calls you to be married, He wants you to be married, and He wants you to use your marriage as the way you become a Saint!
Home   Priest's desk   Church Theme   History of Parish   Life of St. Francis   Capuchins   Parish Structure   Ministries   BECs   Sacraments   Way Of The Cross   Weekly Bulletin   Year Planner   Parish Renewal Experience   Our Location   Prayers of St. Francis   Church Building Project   Franciscan For Justice And Peace   Inter-Religious Dialogue   New Hymns   Psalms   Vocation Promotion Team   Youth Website   Events   Others   Contact Us   Webmail