Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
First of all, a very Happy Fathers’ Day to all fathers. We entrust each of our fathers to St. Joseph, who lovingly cared for the Blessed Virgin and the Christ Child until his final breaths. Fathers are of the utmost importance in the life of the family. So much so that God ensured that Christ would have a foster father in the person of St. Joseph during his humanity’s most formative years on earth. May we pray each day for fathers, learning from the example of God the Father and St. Joseph, that they may lead, unite, and form their families in love and grace. Especially today, when the family is so divided, troubled, and wounded.
At the heart of the family is the bond between husband and wife. United in a sacramental bond that is so permanent and stable that no one is able to divide it. This week, in addition to celebrating Fathers’ Day, we also celebrate several martyrs who ultimately gave up their lives for the sake of preserving the marital bond. Two of those saints are Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More, having been canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI. Both of these saints defended the marriage between King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of England.
Even though the king desired a divorce, both Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More continued in their defense of the indissolubility of marriage. For this, they were both executed, with St. Thomas More declaring before his execution that he was ‘the king’s good servant, but God’s first.’ St. John Fisher was the Bishop of Rochester while St. Thomas More was a lay-man and friend of Henry VIII who ultimately became the Lord High Chancellor of England.
The other saint we recall this week who fought for the importance of marriage in society is St. John the Baptist. Many realize that he was imprisoned and subsequently beheaded. However, he was beheaded specifically because of his insistence that the king, Herod, could not take Herodias as his wife because she was already married to Herod’s brother. For this, he won many enemies in positions of power. However, he continued in his steadfast defense of marriage as important to society and the family. This week we celebrate the nativity of this great precursor of the Lord.
As we face our own issues within our families, our nation, and our world, may we entrust ourselves to these great saints. May we do our best, through the daily living of our lives, to live up to the graces of our baptism. May what we do, no matter how menial or unimportant it may seem, always been done with great love and with great perfection. For it is in this, living our lives well and in sanctity, that we will provide the best example to the world of what the power of Christ can do.