St. Josemaria Escriva: Patron of the Family
St. Josemaria Escriva is a patron saint of our family for great personal reasons, but he is a wonderful patron for every family. He was a great champion of finding holiness in the midst of family life for he saw sanctity as achievable in the ordinary. And what could be more ordinary than the life of a family?
It is in the daily tasks that family life is mostly comprised–the dishes, the laundry, the diaper changes, the serving of meals, the kissing of boo-boos, the washing and dressing of bodies, the chore time, the play time, the leisure time. These are the moments of sanctification.
“Understand that holy things, when they are looked at and done every day in a holy manner, do not become ‘everyday’ things. Everything Jesus Christ did on this earth was human, and divine.” (The Furrow, 955)
He frequently spoke of the importance of upholding the dignity and sacredness of marriage. He reminded us that the love of husband and wife are the foundation of a healthy family and from their bond flows the fruits of love–children.
I am moved that the Apostle should call Christian marriage sacramentum magnum–a great sacrament. From this, too, I deduce the enormous importance of the task of parents.You share in the creative power of God: that is why human love is holy, good and noble. It is a gladness of heart which God–in his loving providence–wants others freely to give up. Each child that God grants you is a wonderful blessing from him: don’t be afraid of children! (The Forge, 691)
St. Josemaria made clear that parents also had the awesome task of educating their children, that giving birth was not the end of co-creating with God.
“Some people bring children into the world for their own benefit, to serve their own purposes, out of selfishness. They forget children are a wonderful gift from God for which they will have to render a very special account. Do not be offended if I say that having offspring just to continue the species is something that…animals can do too.” (The Furrow 845)
He also spoke of the beautiful ways we can find sanctification through the caring and nurturing of our children.
“‘You won’t laugh, Father, will you, if I tell you that, a few days ago, I found myself spontaneously offering the Lord the sacrifice of time it meant for me to mend a broken toy for one of my little children?’ I am not laughing. I am delighted because with that Love, God sets about mending faults.” (The Furrow 986)
And he reminded us that children have a duty to reciprocate this love towards their parents.
“Count on your parents. They have a right to feel that you love them….How could anything we do be pleasing to God if we neglected the souls of those who have loved us most on earth? You owe them your life, the seed of the faith and an upbringing which has made your vocation possible. Love them and count on them.” (The Man of Villa Tevere, pg.191)
This beautiful vocation of the family–to love, to sanctify–overflows into society. St. Josemaria encouraged families to live their vocation of love to its depths so as to be great citizens and examples of charity out in the world.
May we find strength and courage in the words and intercession of St. Josemaria Escriva so as to build our families into schools of love!
(You can find more great quotes relating to marriage and the family by St. Josemaria here.)