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Letter to Married Couples from Pope Pius XII


Dear married couples,

I want to speak to you today about the greatest honor your marriage and family can possibly have. I mean when God takes for himself “his part” of the family, as a friend and almost, as it were, as if he were begging for your help.

God has blessed your marriage and given you children. Someday, you do not know when, he may knock on the doorof your home in the same way as once he walked along the shore of Lake Tiberias and called Zebedee’s two sons to follow him. Just think, it is from faithful Catholic families such as yours that Christ and the Church will choose the ministers and apostles of his Gospel, the priests who take care of the Church, and the missionaries who cross the oceans to teach and save souls. If the Divine Master comes and asks for “his part”–one of your children, whom he has called to be a priest, a religious, or a nun–what will you do? What will become of the holy inspirations that have
spoken to their hearts, and his voice whispering to them: “Do you love me? Will you follow me?” In God’s name I beg you not to stifle in their souls their openness to the Divine Call.

If some day God grants you the great honor of calling one of your children for this service, recognize the value andprivilege entailed in so many graces that this call involves: graces for your child who receives the call, for yourselves, and for your entire family. This is a great gift from heaven coming into your home. You place the flower and fruit of your marriage on the altar, to live consecrated to the Lord and to souls. Just think of the number of sacrificial offerings and prayers he will offer for you and the rest of the family. Each day these prayers will accompany your steps, your actions and needs; they will be more intense and frequent in your saddest and most difficult times; they will follow and comfort you your whole life long, until your last breath and even beyond. Never think that in giving their hearts totally to our Lord they will love you with a love that is less tender or less strong; love for God does not negate or destroy nature, rather it perfects and elevates it to a higher level where the charity of Christ touches the human heart. If the dignity and the austerity of the priestly or consecrated life require giving up certain expressions of affection, have no doubt; the affection itself will never weaken or grow tepid. This sacrifice will cause their affection to burn more deeply and still more intensely, free from all self-seeking. God will share these hearts with you alone.

Do not be afraid of the gift of the holy vocation that has come down from heaven to rest upon your children. If you believe, and if love has raised you to a new level, is it not a comfort and joy to see your own son at the altar clothed with the priestly vestments, offering the sacrifice of the Mass and praying for his mother and father? Is it not a great consolation, that makes a mother’s heart beat with love for her daughter, to see her consecrated to Christ, serving him and loving him with all her being?

Think of a priest who has been close to your family or visited you, giving attention and guidance to you and your children, and bringing you happiness. What family did he come from? Where did he come from to be with you? Who sent him? Who formed in his heart such a fatherly love for you, such words of counsel and friendship? The Church sent him. Christ sent him.

How deep will your Christian spirit really be if you back away from the honor of cooperating and helping in the work of spreading the Faith and the Catholic Church not merely with material h’elp but also with the very precious gift of your children that God is asking of you?

Dear married couples, help the Church, the Spouse of Christ; help Christ, the Savior of men, with the fruit of your marriage. Give God the portion of your blessing he is asking you for out of your home.

- Pius XII, March 25, 1942