Today's guest post is written by Maura, a homeschooling mom from Manassas, Virginia. Maura and her husband have three young children, and they're expecting their fourth this month! Maura's blog, First Friday Fast, encourages us to pray for the sanctification of marriage, the healing of broken marriages, and for single people to find their future spouse. In this brief but inspirational post, she reminds us that the graces of sacramental marriage offer us everything we need to be holy.
"The purpose of marriage is to help married people sanctify themselves and others. For this reason they receive a special grace in the sacrament which Jesus Christ instituted. Those who are called to the married state will, with the grace of God, find within their state everything they need to be holy, to identify themselves each day more with Jesus Christ, and to lead those with whom they live to God.
That is why I always look upon Christian homes with hope and affection, upon all the families which are the fruit of the Sacrament of Matrimony. They are a shining witness of the great divine mystery of Christ’s loving union with His Church which St. Paul calls sacramentum magnum, a great sacrament (Eph 5:32). We must strive so that these cells of Christianity may be born and may develop with a desire for holiness, conscious of the fact that the Sacrament of Initiation – Baptism – confers on all Christians a divine mission that each must fulfill in his own walk of life.”
(Saint Josemaría Escrivá )
In the vocation to marriage (as with our simultaneous vocation to holiness), it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking,"if only I had more of such and such a virtue, I could be a much better spouse and parent." Well, why is it that we cannot acquire this virtue? Why is it that we allow ourselves to despair of attaining perfection, and settle for mediocrity? At the root of this problem is a distrust in God's grace. We do not trust that He has given us sufficient grace not only to perform our daily tasks, but to do so with a generous and patient heart.
When we lament our lack of virtue, we forget that God has already given us the necessary graces to become a saint in our vocation. His graces abound in the life-giving waters of the Sacraments, but He cannot and will not force us to drink these waters. His grace is there, but our free will must cooperate with it. Patience, humility, generosity, self-sacrifice, fortitude, etc. can all be attained and practiced if we truly believe we have been given "within [our state of life] everything [we] need to be holy." And when we embrace this call, we make firmer the foundations of our marriages, our families, and consequently, our society.