I was reading from Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales the other day and if I understood him correctly he was suggesting that to make and live a vow of poverty as do religious is a higher calling. With all due respect I can’t help but take exception with Saint Francis on this point for it seems to me that it is a much more difficult matter for a person to be living in poverty apart from choice than to be doing so as a matter of choice. In fact the idea of not knowing, the uncertainty and the thought of being mortally vulnerable seems to me to present the real challenge. Not knowing from where one’s next meal is coming, or whether you’ll have a way to work, or whether you’ll be able to purchase needed medication seems to me to offer the bigger challenge. Granted it may have been a different matter for religious living in the 17th century but today’s religious for the most part hardly experience the arduous task of poverty as described by St. Gregory of surrendering one’s “entire liberty.” Saint Gregory notes that “to forsake what one has is a small thing, to forsake what one is, that is the supreme gift.” Either way it is this very point of forsaking what one is along with the manner in which one accepts their station in life that seems to me makes the distinction. Like the example offered in today’s Gospel by our Blessed Mother, it is the manner by which we accept things in life that makes the true difference.
We are all called to respond to God as Mary did, without hesitation and without reservation, and so we say Thy will be done, let “it be done to me according to Your word.” It is this type of trust and abandonment into the hands of God which we are called to in the Sacrament of Marriage. For this is certain—marriage does not escape the Cross of Christ! We are called to “forsake what one is”, to give of our self to our other. This when done in the manner exemplified by our Blessed Mother is the recipe for a happy marriage. As I reflect further, another adage from my youth which comes to mind is the humble truth that “home is where the heart is.” If in our marriage we awaken each and every day dedicating our marriage to God we will not wander from where we have been called to pursue Him. May we always look to home and hearth for true happiness and fulfillment. It is a matter of how we respond to our call to marriage which makes the difference, if we respond daily with a joyful and generous heart our marriage is certain to likewise be joyful and truly fulfilling. May we look to our Saint for today, Saint Dominic of Silos for direction in being simple and humble of heart, may all we do today and for our marriage be in response to God’s will for us. Make a great day!
Today we recall the good life, gifts, and works of Saint Dominic of Silos—patron of pregnant women.