Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, May 11, 2012

Feast of Saint Francis of Girolamo

Good morning. This phenomenon called love is unique to humans. We exist because of the love of our Creator, and it is our purpose to know love and to live love as man and woman in marriage and communicate it to one another in a way as to co-create with God new life. We have this capacity to love because God wills it for us, but too because we are rational, free thinking beings who are called to reflect the image of God Who is Love. In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us we are to love beyond any way the world thinks of love. He makes it very clear that we are to love one another as He loves us. We are each and every one of us called to lay down our lives for one another. 

This calling to give of ourselves is particularly asked of us in the Sacrament of Marriage. In marriage a man and a woman are called to lay down their lives for each other and likewise for their children. Marriage is more than a big party where the bride and groom receive gifts; marriage is about being that gift to each other. 

The late Blessed Pope John Paul II indicated that without this gift of self, “marriage would be empty.” Each day of our married lives together we are asked to give the gift of self to each other and to our children. Love is a daily challenge and a choice we make each day—to love and to be loved. After all, love is a verb and a verb is an action and we are the creator of that action to love. True love grows over time and becomes stronger through the years especially in response to those days when it is even more difficult to choose to love. It is not outside ourselves or anything that just happens to a couple as portrayed in books and movies, but rather it is a choice we make and it is forever evolving. 

Blessed John Paul II spoke so beautifully in his book Love and Responsibility about the essence of love as lived out between married couples. He wrote that “The strength of such love emerges most clearly when the beloved person stumbles, when his or her weaknesses or even sins come into the open. One who truly loves does not then withdraw his love, but loves all the more, loves in full consciousness of the other’s shortcomings and faults, and without in the least approving of them.” We truly love knowing that our other will disappoint us. Our saint for today, Saint Francis of Girolamo, and all the saints give witness to this kind of love. The love which Jesus calls us to goes beyond the simplicity of being kind, sweet and gallant, it calls us to a higher level than the feel-good romantic notion portrayed in Disney. Love becomes what we decide it will become, it is contingent upon our choices and the depth of our commitment to each other. Each day of our married lives together we are asked to give the gift of self to each other and to our children. We are called in each new day to renew this gift of love. What gift have we to give today? Make a great day! 

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Francis of Girolamo.

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