Intention: For husbands and wives experiencing difficulties in their marriage – that the Lord would strengthen their love for each other as a sign of His love for the world.
Reflection: On their wedding day, a husband and wife promise to be true to each other “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health” (Rite of Marriage #25). Sure enough, the bad times come. Every married couple encounters times when loving their spouse isn’t so easy, or when outside difficulties put strain on the relationship.
As Pope Francis reminded the youth in Brazil, saying “yes” forever to one’s spouse is a revolutionary act! Not knowing what tomorrow will bring, husbands and wives can rely on the grace of the sacrament they received on their wedding day.
And married couples can take heart that their “yes” to each other, even when it is difficult to say, bears much fruit in the world. Pope Benedict XVI called marriage “a Gospel in itself, a Good News for the world of today… The union of a man and a woman, their becoming ‘one flesh’ in charity, in fruitful and indissoluble love, is a sign that speaks of God with a force and an eloquence.”
Did you know? The Church offers much assistance to husbands and wives who are experiencing marital difficulties. For example, the USCCB website For Your Marriage has advice and articles from experts about a number of obstacles that married couples face, including addictions, disillusionment, infidelity, and pornography. The website also has a list of organizations that provide support for troubled marriages. See also the pamphlet “Finding Help When Your Marriage Is In Trouble.”
- Learn about the Bishops’ Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty
- Sign the pledge to fast on Fridays for life, marriage, and religious liberty
- Join the Call to Prayer Facebook event
Pope Francis celebrated his inauguration mass on the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19). His whole homily is worth reading, but here is some of what he had to say about St. Joseph as protector of Jesus and Mary:
How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.
The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!
I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen.
— Pope Francis: Homily at the Mass for the inauguration of the Pontificate 19 March 2013 (emphasis added)
Please pray for the pope as he begins his Petrine ministry.