3 Lessons We Can Learn from Married Couple Saints
With the World Meeting of Families coming up next month, it is a good time to remember that marriage is a beautiful and holy vocation to which very many people are called. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, we in the Church share the universal call to holiness (Lumen Gentium, Chapter V). This means that sainthood and a close relationship with God are not reserved for priests and religious alone, but are equally open to people living out their vocation of marriage and family life.
There have been a handful of married couples in Church history who have been recognized as saints, including Saints Mary & Joseph, Saints Joachim & Anne, Saints Aquila & Priscilla, Saints Gregory & Nonna, and Saints Louis & Zélie Martin, among others. We hope that many more holy couples will join them as canonized saints in the future. Perhaps you and your spouse could join this list! As you strive for holiness, here are 3 lessons you can learn from married couples who are saints:
1. Respect for one another’s dignity
People who are married have more to their vocation than just their state in life. Each of us has the gift of a personal vocation—a unique way in which we are called to love God and give glory to him. For the Blessed Virgin Mary, for example, this vocation included a call to perpetual virginity. As a married couple, Mary and Joseph lived this call together with solemn respect for each other’s dignity and the dignity of the bond that joined them. Married couples have the responsibility to work as a cohesive unit working toward holiness together, and that means paying attention to the unique dignity of each spouse.
2. How to build a holy home
Many of the married couple saints had children who entered the priesthood or religious life, or who also became saints. In these cases, we can certainly know the tree by its fruits. The holy men and women born to saintly parents did not become holy by coincidence. Their parents built their families on the foundation of faith, and their homes were filled with prayer and love. In some instances—for example, in the case of Saints Joachim & Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary—we don’t know much about the saints themselves. But we do know that the example of these saints created fertile ground for holiness and built a model for their families to follow.
3. How to put God’s plan above your own
Married people, by nature of their vocation, are usually out in the world more than those who have entered consecrated life. This means that they can be incredible witnesses to people who have never encountered the Gospel before, but it also means that they are often exposed to temptations toward worldly desires. It can be easy for individuals in the world to start making plans for their lives based on these desires. But the married saints show us that it is always better to follow God’s plan rather than our own. Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, for example, each had a plan before they met each other, though not a worldly one: they wanted to enter religious life. But they followed God’s plan instead and let themselves be open to marriage. As a result, they raised an incredibly holy family and gave a gift to the whole Church of their daughter, St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
No matter what your vocation is, you can learn uniquely important lessons about holiness from married saints. We invite you to pray for their intercession today.