I didn't marry you because you were perfect. I didn't even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn't a house that protected them; and it wasn't our love that protected them - it was that promise.Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth
I knew couples who’d been married almost forever – forty, fifty, sixty years. Seventy-two, in one case. They’d be tending each other’s illnesses, filling in each other’s faulty memories, dealing with the money troubles or the daughter’s suicide, or the grandson’s drug addiction. And I was beginning to suspect that it made no difference whether they’d married the right person. Finally, you’re just with who you’re with. You’ve signed on with her, put in a half century with her, grown to know her as well as you know yourself or even better, and she’s become the right person. Or the only person, might be more to the point. I wish someone had told me that earlier. I’d have hung on then; I swear I would. Anne Tyler, A Patchwork Planet
Sometimes, fiction, novels, plays, speak the truth. Eloquently.
The truth that maybe we just need to persevere, to hang on to pray, to work things out.
It is this that creates relationship. Connections. Love.
That helps us all in our calling and in our vocations, married, single, religious, priest.
Those acts of will.
Of giving of time. Of giving of self. Of suffering.
...saints tell us that love and suffering are intermingled.. Margaret Trouncer, The Nun (my current reading)
Yesterday, on the feast day of Blessed Mary Mackillop, one of the friars gave a talk, a reflection on the life of Mother Mary of the Cross. He spoke of her conviction, her courage, her trust in the Church, her love of Jesus, her strength. And thus, of her example for all of us today.
Where is our trust, our strength, our fidelity? In Christ and His Church, we hope, and then in living this out in our vocations. For me, as a woman, a woman called foremost to be a wife and mother. Then in my vocation as a teacher.
Today was the close of National Vocations Week. Today's special emphasis was on the vocation to the priesthood.
The vocation to the priesthood is bound with the vocation to marriage. My thoughts this week on the sacrament of matrimony also leads to thoughts on the sacrament of holy orders.
A story is told of the future Pope Pius X, visiting his 70-year-old mother after being ordained a bishop. She kissed her son’s ring and, suddenly became pensive, looked at her wedding band and said, You would not be wearing that ring if I had not first worn mine. Pope St. Pius X confirmed that experience with his comment Every vocation to the priesthood comes from the heart of God, but it goes through the heart of a mother!
Love and suffering, joy and pain, happiness and worries often go hand-in-hand with each state of life, within each vocation.
Every priest has a mother. Every Christian mother prays and loves , in her vocation as a mother and, for those married, in her vocation as a wife. The vocation of motherhood, the sacrament of matrimony, may thus have a link with the sacrament of holy orders.
So we pray this week for vocations, all vocations, I pray for my vocation, that I live it fathfully, loving and ,yes, suffering. But we pray, I pray, especially also for vocations to the priesthood.
For, as the priest pointed out today during mass, Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest… After God, the priest is everything! … Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is...St John Vianney