October 22, 2015

Most Important Event of the Synod? The Canonization of Louis and Zélie Martin

Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin & family
Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin & family

On October 18, Pope Francis canonized four individuals, including, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Louis Martin and Marie Zélie Guerin Martin had nine children; four died in infancy and five daughters entered religious life. During their 19-year marriage, the couple was known to attend Mass daily, pray and fast, respect the Sabbath, visit the elderly and the sick, and welcome the poor into their home. (See Father James Martin's article "His Wife's a Saint, So Is Her Husband", for more.)

Father Mark A. Pilon says the single most important event that will occur during the 2015 Synod on Marriage and the Family is the canonization of Louis and Zélie Martin. In an article for The Catholic Thing he writes:
The Church has always pointed to the lives of saints to teach us the great truths of our faith. In this case, the example is not only the fidelity of this holy couple, nor their obviously great conjugal love, nor the permanence of their union. All of these things can also be found outside Christianity, because marriage is a natural institution.
What the Martins exemplify, as do all holy Catholic marriages, is the integral and necessary role of chastity within marriage. True Christian marriages are chaste, and chaste marriages are always holy.
The holiness of the vocation of marriage within the sacrament of matrimony is a major theme of this particular Synod, as it was at Vatican II. What is not so clearly a theme is the integral relationship between this holiness and the chastity of the married couple. I suspect that this theme is mentioned at times, but it does not get the same level of attention as many other topics. Yet nothing will be more important for the renewal of Christian marriage than the reassertion of the Church’s teaching on chastity within marriage, and courageous and wise practical efforts to re-evangelize the Catholic laity on this point.
Read it all here.

Prayer of Spouses and Parents to the Martins

Saints Louis and Zélie Martin,
today we turn to you in prayer. 

By fulfilling the duties of your state in life 
and practicing the evangelical virtues 
as spouses and as parents, 
you have modeled for us 
an exemplary Christian life. 

May the example 
of your unwavering trust in God
and your constant willingness to surrender
all the joys, the trials, 
the sorrows and the sufferings
that filled your life
encourage us to persevere
in our daily challenges
and to remain in joy and Christian hope.

Amen.

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