Sunday, February 3, 2008


I can’t shake this image.

I was sitting in my place in the unused choir loft during mass a few months back at which was celebrated the Rite of Acceptance for RCIA. This is when the catechumens express their desire to enter into more fully the process of becoming one with Christ’s Church. As part of the ritual the sponsors make the sign of the cross on their person’s forehead, ears, eyes, lips heart, shoulders, hands, and feet. During this time the pastor is reading such things as, “Receive the sign of the cross on your forehead. It is Christ himself who now strengthens you with this sign of His love. Learn to follow Him. Receive the sign of the cross on your ears that you may hear the voice of the Lord. . . .”

Now, in RCIA there is a young couple who is preparing for marriage. He is coming into the Church and she is his sponsor. How moving it was to see her signing and blessing the man she intended to vow her life to and make the father of her children. The priest may have been saying, “Receive the sign of the cross on your lips that you may respond to the word of God,” but it seemed she was saying, “bless these lips with which you show me love, may they be chaste and may the bless our children.” When she blessed his shoulder the priest may have read, “Receive the sign of the cross on your shoulders, that you may bear the gentle yoke of Christ,” but it was as if she were blessing “the shoulders that will bear the labor of man to support the new home we establish in Godly order.”

A desire burned in me then. It was a passionate desire that all couples would love each other to such a degree that not only would they want holiness for each other but that they would take the initiative to manifest that prayer in such a fashion. I don’t have a lot of confidence in many of the things that we do in marriage prep but I do emphasize prayer and especially praying together. But this is even a step further.

I make this plea particularly to men (probably because they can be the least comfortable with it.) As spiritual head of the household do you pray daily for yourself as husband and father, and your family that they may be close to the Lord? Do you fathers bless your children? Unsure of how to do it? Get a copy of the Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers. An example can be as easy as tracing the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead and saying, “May God bless you and protect you.”

If you are not with someone and hope to be, start praying for that person now. Pray that God may bless them and that He may prepare you to be a good partner. And if you are single and plan on staying that way (like me) pray for those who enrich your life, especially your friends. How precious they are.

And finally may God bless you.


Anonymous said...

I was at a Women's Retreat this weekend - awesome experience! The small group that I was in, all of the women were married. As we went around the group, each was sharing how God has worked in their marriage & families. The discussion finally came around to me.

I told them that I'm not married, never been married. Then I had to stop & think - and said after a pause, "I'm gonna be married!" That blew me away! I had not thought about this before... but what a better man to be married to than Christ, Himself! WOW!
Lillian Marie

Anonymous said...

Amen, Lillian Marie.

uncle jim said...

are invitations in the mail?
gotta get it on my calendar.

Anonymous said...

You all will be the 3rd to know. Sorry...God & family come first. *grin*

But down to 2 Orders: Trinitarians at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine (Euclid, OH) and Sisters of Reparation of the Most Sacred Heart (Steubenville, OH)

Anonymous said...

Awesome, LM :-)

And Fr. V., I meant to say this is one of the sweetest posts you've ever done.

gemoftheocean said...

Remind me again why the man is assumed to be the "spiritual head of the household" by mere accidence of his sex? Had it been my dad's lead that I followed in religious matters, then I'd have stayed home on Sunday while mom went to church when I was in my teens.... ideally BOTH mom and dad are good role models for the children, but it seems absurd not to face reality.


Fr. V said...

Karen -

I hear you. My Dad thought (thinks) organized religion is for weak people. Yet I am a priest and that is because my mother was spiritual head of the household. But that does not make it right ordered (how many things in life are not right ordered?) And we still get by. I do wish my Dad took his role as spiritual head of the household - life would have been much different . . .

As to the why - maybe check this out:

Thanks for inquiering!

gemoftheocean said...

Hi Father, your link gets truncated after the .php?

I'm sure you meant a specific one.