Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The "Real" Gift

Today I attended the funeral of a gentleman from our parish who was married for 66 years. His dear wife was escorted into St. Thomas church immediately behind her husband's coffin. It was a happy and sad occasion. One's earthly life was completed. Victor's eternal life had just begun. After Communion a grandson delivered the eulogy. He described his granddad as the ideal dad. He was a faithful Catholic. He belonged to the Holy Name Society which made him stand out as a fervent Catholic. He was faithful to his job as a mail carrier, faithful to his wife and his 5 children. Like St. Joseph, Victor was more of a "do-er than a speaker." After 66 years of marriage Victor went to his eternal reward. There were plenty of tears shed by his children and grandchildren. Amid the sorrow there was also a quiet hope. "Life is changed, not taken away" is one of the liturgy's comments on death. Among the relatives and friends joy radiated from a newly-wed couple, and the promise of new life evident in two of the expectant grandchildren. In both the homily and the eulogy those of us who were not close family learned a lot about the deceased Victor. He was a man of few words, but of an abundance of good works. He worked as a postal mail carrier--a hard but steady job. What a witness to true love for his family, devotion to his hometown, to the Boston Red Sox, to his heritage as the son of Italian immigrants. It seemed appropriate that today, Pope Francis addressed his Wednesday audience to newly married couples. Pope Francis told those young people beginning new lives together:
“When a man and a woman celebrate the sacrament of marriage, God, so to speak, is ‘mirrored’ in them, He marks them with His features and the indelible character of His love.” Even God “is a communion of the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who live forever and are forever in perfect unity. And this is the mystery of marriage: God makes one existence of the two spouses — the Bible says ‘one flesh’ — in the image of His love, in a communion which draws its origin and its strength from God.” The Pope then asked those husbands and wives present if they are aware of this “great gift” that the Lord has given them: “The real ‘wedding gift’ is this: Your marriage is a reflection of the Holy Trinity, and with the grace of Christ, you are a living and credible icon God and His love.”
“The plan that is inherent in the Sacrament of Marriage is truly wonderful! It takes place in the simplicity and also the fragility of the human condition. We know the many trials and difficulties that the lives of a married couple encounter... The important thing is to keep alive the link with God, which is the basis of the marital bond.”
For those who prepare couples for a Catholic marriage, the Daughters of St. Paul have published "Transformed in Love" a thoroughly Catholic marriage preparation program. To find out more about this very helpful title, check out its website:

No comments: