June 26. St. Josemaría Escrivá’s feast day.
June 26. A landmark day for Supreme Court rulings on same-sex cases.
- June 26, 2003: the United States Supreme Court declared a Texas law unconstitutional that made it a crime for two persons of the same-sex to engage in intimate sexual conduct.
- June 26, 2013: the United States Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
- And, most recently, June 26, 2015: the United States Supreme Court legalized a national right to same-sex marriage.
In the weeks since that most recent ruling, I’ve pondered what St. Josemaría’s role is in all of this, if anything at all. Is there a connection with his feast day? Can his preaching and writings on marriage and family life lift up and sanctify this culture? How can we move forward through his intercession?
I don’t like sharing my birthday with these Supreme Court rulings, but I do take comfort in sharing my special day with St. Josemaría Escrivá. As I’ve allowed all this to simmer a bit, I feel a strong push from the Holy Spirit to dive into Josemaría’s writings more, and I think he’s going to keep me busy. Not only that, I sense he’ll become a terrific intercessor as I intentionally witness to the sanctity of marriage.
As I’ve combed through his writings, I found a particularly powerful and convicting piece. I’ve read it no less than 10 times in the last couple of weeks, and I want to share it with you. It’s titled Marriage: A Christian Vocation from a homily St. Josemaría Escrivá delivered on the Feast of the Holy Family in 1970. If you read nothing else from it, please sit with this for a while.
For this reason, there is perhaps no better model for a Christian couple than that of the Christian families of apostolic times: the centurion Cornelius, who obeyed the will of God and in whose home the Church was made accessible to the gentiles; Aquila and Priscilla, who spread Christianity in Corinth and Ephesus, and who cooperated in the apostolate of St. Paul; Tabitha, who out of charity attended to the needs of the Christians in Joppe. And so many other homes and families of Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Romans, in which the preaching of our Lord’s first disciples began to bear fruit. Families who lived in union with Christ and who made him known to others. Small Christian communities which were centres for the spreading of the Gospel and its message. Families no different from other families of those times, but living with a new spirit, which spread to all those who were in contact with them. This is what the first Christians were, and this is what we have to be: sowers of peace and joy, the peace and joy that Jesus has brought to us.
Our witness has the power to attract others and together, little by little, these relationships have the power to become apostolic. One person leads another toward Christ, they then help other friends to be reconciled or converted and grow in the life of the Church, those friends then go forth and do more of the same. Collectively, we evangelize and sanctify the culture in which we live. In that regard, we have much in common with Cornelius, Aquila and Priscilla, Tabitha, and all the early Christians.
Rates of Catholic weddings have steadily declined for decades. According to Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, in 1956, 36 weddings were celebrated for every thousand American Catholics. In 2009, that number was under 13. Why aren’t Catholics getting married like we used to? Perhaps more importantly, what can we do about it?
Each of us must take a long, hard look in the mirror at our own marriages. What does our marital witness look like, to our spouse, our children, and others? Joy or drudgery? Happy or harried? Christ or chaos? On some level, we all probably know what a healthy marriage looks like, so it may feel like a case of stating the obvious to discuss foundational principles. But do we put them into practice consistently? Do we even know why they are important? Let’s get off cruise control and start being intentional about building a culture that celebrates and reveres marriage. One marriage at a time, starting with our own. May we be, as St. Josemaría Escrivá, says, sowers of peace and joy, the peace and joy that Jesus has brought to us.
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In other news …
Amy Brix from St. Luke’s Brush contacted me about hosting a giveaway and sharing a discount on any of their hand-painted goods. She said I could choose any saint, and I immediately thought about St. Josemaría Escrivá. So we’re giving away this guy here!
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway. To receive the 10% discount, your coupon code is CHRISTMASJULY over at St. Luke’s Brush Etsy shop. The coupon and giveaway are good through Sunday, August 2; I’ll announce the winner of the saint doll here next week.
May you seek Christ, May you find Christ, May you love Christ.” – St. Josemaría Escrivá