Uncle Eddy's E-mails -- February 5
Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (entered heaven in the early Christian centuries)
Ok. I just heard the news. Why didn’t you tell me about it yourself? Are you ashamed? Afraid of what I would say? Does it bother your conscience that you have started courting a young lady who doesn’t share your faith? I should hope it does. And that, I know, is why you were hoping I wouldn’t hear about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I know as well as you know that there are all kinds of heart-warming stories about Catholics who married non-Catholics and then the non-Catholic spouse converted and became a model member of the Church. There’re plenty of such stories, true, and beautiful they are. But do you know how many of the contrary stories there are? Thousands, literally. And THAT is why the Church so discourages such marriages! (The worst repercussions fall upon the children – a huge percentage of children from mixed marriages end up leaving the Church, and can you blame them? If their parents can’t agree on religion, how important could it be?)
If Christ really means something to you, then the most intimate and important relationship in your life (that with your wife, if you are called to marriage) ought to have Christ involved, from both directions! If you decide to marry someone who can’t share your faith completely, it’s much harder to say that Christ is your Lord, that you are seeking happiness in Him, in following Him, in serving Him. It’s an obvious point, but maybe you need to see an extreme example of true Christian discipleship to make it sink in.
Just look for example at today’s saint. She was the beautiful daughter of a wealthy and powerful Sicilian family. When just a teenager, she was moved to consecrate herself exclusively to the Lord. Typically, her many suitors took this amiss, and one of them who had some rank in their city (he was a judge) tried to force himself upon her by threats of torture (an edict forbidding the Christian faith was in force at the time). When that didn’t work, he used his authority to have her surrounded with women of sordid reputation, who tried to break her resolve.
She remained as firm as ever, though, and finally her judge had her beaten and thrown into prison for the night. The next day she was even more radiant with confidence and loyalty to her divine spouse, and her enraged persecutor had her racked, charred with torches, scraped with an iron claw, and to add insult to injury, they cut off her breasts. Her dying words were, “Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive now my soul.”
Think about that for awhile. Think about what it means to call oneself a Christian. Maybe Christ isn’t calling you to the special and privileged state of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, but surely your devotion to him ought to matter enough to induce you to look for spouses among women who share it. Otherwise, how much could you really care about the Savior of the world and what he has done for you?
Your suffering uncle, Eddy
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