The family of Louis and Zelie – Letter #23
March 13, 2019
Do We Love the Church?
“To me, Saint Peter’s Basilica (in Rome) is certainly the most beautiful thing in the world. I prayed for you (girls) that I love so much, it’s so sweet to pray there !” St. Louis Martin to his daughters, September 27, 1885, CF 228
“Our mother had true reverence for the Church, for the pope, and for the priesthood in general.” Céline Martin in “My Holy Parents”
These words of Louis Martin and his daughter Céline are very clear: in the Martin family, love of God and love of the Church go hand in hand.
If the unified life of Louis and Zélie is obvious, it is good to see that this love of God and of the Church is – in them – an essential starting point. It is all the more true that this intimate union of « love of God and the Church » is lived within their marriage. Louis and Zélie make incarnate in their daily lives the opening prayer (option A) of the wedding ritual: “Lord God, you have sanctified marriage by a mystery so great and so beautiful that you made it a sacrament (sign) of the covenant of Christ and the Church…”
Let us prolong the reflection; in the Gospel reading on the Feast Day of the Chair of St. Peter, celebrated on February 22, Christ asks his disciples the question: “Who do you say I am?”
As a result of this fundamental question, we can add: “For me, what is the Church? Do I love her?”
To answer, we are helped by the title of an encyclical written by Saint Pope John XXIII, she is “Mother and educator” and by the affirmation of Saint Thérèse: “my vocation, I found it, within the Church, my mother, I will be love.”
Let us learn to become sons and daughters of the Church.
Let us continue with a reflection from
- Pope Benedict XVI (from a Wednesday catechesis on the Church, in 2006)
In the end, one cannot truly love Jesus or follow his teachings, without placing oneself in the family of faith to which Jesus gave life. Being a member of this family certainly does not guarantee perfect satisfaction; like all families, the Church has its ups and downs, its moments of disappointment and sorrow. If this is true for any human family, it is even more so for a universal Church which gathers more than one billion faithful and which bears the weight of two thousand years of history! But just as one does not leave a family when tensions arise, so a disciple of Jesus does not leave his Church.
- Saint Eugène de Mazenod (for entry into Lent)
Now, dear brothers, we ask you: do you not love with filial love the Bride of Jesus Christ that He has given us as Mother? Do you not love the family of the Man-God, his living house, his holy temple, his earthly city (an image of the eternal city), his reign, his flock, the society which he founded, the work that has been the object of his whole activity and which is the object of all of his satisfaction here below? Is this not wanting to love Him himself ?
To go further and put into practice
I believe in one, holy, Catholic, apostolic Church. By the Creed, I know this formula, but do I live it by my words, by my actions?
1 – One (How do I contribute to this unity?)
2 – Holy (Do I recognize the Church’s holiness beyone the faults of its members ?)
3 – Catholic (How do I live its universality, made of multiple sensibilities and realities ?)
4 – Apostolic (How do I adhere to it as coming from the apostles and how does my attachment to the successor of Peter manifest itself ?)
Let us pray
TO LOVE AND SERVE THE CHURCH
“Pray that the master of the harvest sends workers for his harvest!” (Luke 10:2)
O Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
I adore you and give you thanks for the mystery of the Church.
Jesus, you made the Church your Body, your fullness.
You like to give her the names of sister, wife, mother.
In her, you make us Christians by baptism.
Help me to love the Church as you love it yourself.
Give me your zeal to grow this community of faith and service.
I beg your forgivness for my inadequate commitment to the life of the Church.
I give myself to you so that you may associate me with the very vigilant care that you have for her.
Give me the grace to live in her service, in the image of all those who preceded us on the path of holiness.
From a text written by St. Jean Eudes
Guy Fournier, Deacon
Administrator of the Shrine of Alençon
The sanctuary team is counting on your missionary spirit in distributing this letter and giving us addresses among your relations so that we can spread it.