I responded to a beautiful letter from a noteworthy and devout Catholic regarding her mission and calling in life of bringing hope and saving the soul of the Christian family. I also gently reminded her about learning from families that have survived serious challenges that are around her today.
Religious education, theology, degrees, and reflections from the highest religious order are central. But so are the vastly different challenges before us that are gifts to us from those living right around us! I believe they are the missing links, the Saints among us who further our mission to minister the truth. I have learned about marriage from the "ordinary" Saints I have encountered in my daily life and believe this is something we need to study to advance in our spiritual growth.
I love Leo Tolstoy's Three Questions because I relate it with marriage: the different parts that meld together and light our path to God: "Remember then: there is only one time that is important - now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with anyone else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!" Here's the link to a wonderful story about those questions that is sure to inspire you: http://www.plough.com/en/topics/culture/short-stories/three-questions
It's a blessing to see families in which all the members are faith-filled, practicing Christians, which I consider the ideal family. But in other families, in which only one member had faith, there are greater challenges, and yet by the loving grace of God, that person has enough will power to keep the heart and soul of the family together. All members of any individual family have his or her challenges in way or another. One can only hope that God will not give us more than we are able to endure.
This is most important to give careful consideration and contemplation in prayer: Some families might have someone who has a serious illness, addiction, or severe problem that causes suffering that touches the entire family. Aren't these people as great a Saint as the departed Saints to whom we pray? We should consider and emulate these families that have endured difficulties and found breakthroughs by caring for the souls of their own family members. They are the Saints who live among us, who are better able to provide us with guidance and answers to our own questions. Our living Saints might just provide answers and inspiration for others who need it. We are fortunate to actually have true-life Saints in our presence to help our own souls ascend towards a little more in holiness.
Catherine Nagle grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old school Italian parents. Catherine's artist father's works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, and conferences, including the National Theology of the Body Congress. She is also an Ambassador of the Society of Emotional Intelligence. The mother of two children and now a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the Author of Imprinted Wisdom.