Holy Family

Holy Family

Monday, July 9, 2012

Feast of Saint Veronica Giuliani

Good morning. I just recently came from a situation which awakened in me the importance of touch, not just touch in the obvious sense of its meaning but overall human closeness. We read in the Gospel for today the importance of human touch and closeness in the lives which Jesus touched. In fact, we read throughout the Gospels situations where His touch, His look, His mere presence made a significant difference in the lives of others. We heard just a few days ago of the importance touch played in the faith of Saint Thomas the Apostle. 

As mentioned, I recently encountered a situation where someone had deliberately withdrawn their love for another family member, choosing to not be part of a very significant event in the other family member’s life. There was no explanation, nigh, not even the suggestion of an excuse. It broke this person’s heart. It was a deliberate, intentional withdrawal of their love. I unfortunately too often see this in the lives of couples and the families who come to my office. We are reminded of the devastation such disengagement from others may have for us in the telling of a dream by Saint Veronica, whose life we celebrate today, where she tells of her heart turning to steel. 

Touch is one of the most basic forms of human connection. Each of us craves affection and the feeling of connectedness with others. We see this in the affection which develops and how this affection builds in the intimate sharing of the marital bed. The day to day awakening together in the same bed builds trust between a couple and deepens our intimacy with one another. There is research which suggests that closeness, our reaching out and touching one another is an important and vital part of any relationship, and it has significant importance in areas of our health and in child development. We know that touching impacts weight gain with babies, and touching influences mental and motor skill development in infants. Researchers at the University of Miami Touch Research Institute found that touch has an impact on heart rate and blood pressure. It has a calming impact on any relationship. 

We know that touching is an important and vital part of marriage. Unfortunately, intimacy, we’re not just talking sex, is sometimes treated as an end-game. Intimacy, all too often is treated as a tool or weapon in a dysfunctional effort to gain attention or for payment for felt transgressions—real or otherwise. We need to keep in mind that individuals don't stray from a marriage because there's not enough sex, they stray in an effort to get their needs for affection and closeness met. The overall point here is that it is important to remember to touch, to reach out and let each other know we care. In the end, taking the time to consciously touch our spouse is a way to maintain our marriage and to make every moment of our relationship a new beginning. As AT&T metaphorically urged people to ‘reach out and touch someone’ with their telephone service, let us really do so today. Make a great day! 

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Veronica Giuliani.

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