A PALACE OF JOY AND PEACE
by Catherine Doherty
(This continues Catherine's thoughts on family life.)
* * *
We've been discussing here the "re-christianization
of the home."
Pope Pius XII told me (in a private audience I had with him in
1951) that lay groups should help restore the family to Christ, no
matter what other aims and goals may be theirs.
Basically, the restoration of any life begins with an examination
of conscience. So the first question for parents to ask themselves is:
"What is our attitude to God - and to each other?"
We have already outlined, sketchily, some searching questions about
this first part. Let us now try to touch lightly on the second part.
To begin with, parents are human beings who usually do not
know each other very well. They happen to meet; they 'fall in love';
and they decide to marry.
But what do they really know of each another? And what do they
know about this glorious, beautiful vocation of marriage they are about
to enter into?
It is one of the 'hardest' vocations there is! Priests have long
years of preparation. So do all religious, male and female. But who of
us gets prepared for marriage? And where is its novitiate?
The learning process should have begun at the knees of our father
and mother, with their example. Long ago, perhaps, in other generations,
Back to the present topic: boy and girl about to marry. They
are 'in love'. But *do* they love? Do they understand that theirs is
a 'vocation' (a God-given 'calling') to love? And to love so well that
their children will learn love just by being their children and going to
the 'school' of their love?
Do they comprehend that love means total surrender? In this
case, to one another ... out of love for God and for each other?
Do they realize that love doesn't use the pronoun 'I'? That
it is never selfish or self-centered?
So much depends on the answers to these questions! And who
of us can truthfully say, as we enter marriage, that we know these
Take the idea of 'rights' for example. True, before the law
(civil and church), a husband and wife have certain rights. That is
as it should be, for life is complex and human nature *is* human
And yet, rights are often relinquished for the sake of love.
A woman who grows up in the American culture will feel that she has
the inherent right of free travelling and movement. And yet, out
of love for God, she may enclose herself - voluntarily - in a strict
convent and become a cloistered nun. She surrenders her rights - for
So it is with a husband and wife. The two are to become one.
They leave their parents, their maternal home, to cleave to one another,
and to eventually become 'one flesh'.
This means a surrender, a giving of oneself ... until, in truth
the two *are* one flesh, one mind, one heart, one soul!
For those who understand the vocation of marriage (and alas,
how few there are!) the veil of faith becomes gossamer thin. The depths
of its mysteries are seen ... as at Communion, when husband and wife
are one in the heart of Christ.
Now *that* is where the oneness is felt most deeply by those
who believe, and who, believing, *see!*
The oneness of the marital vocation ... the oneness of love,
in mind, heart, soul, and body ... of a man and woman bound by the soft,
yet unbreakable, bonds of an awesome sacrament: *this* is what will form
It doesn't matter if this 'home' is a palace or a hovel (or
anything in between); or whether comfortable or uncomfortable (by our
crazy modern standards)!
*Home* is not a dwelling built by hands. It is built by *Love!*
It is built by that unity, that oneness, which turns a veritable hovel
into a palace of joy and peace. This transformation takes place because
the tranquility of God's order reigns in the heart of it.
Such a home - and all that goes into making that home - will form
strong, sound, mentally healthy parents ... and children.
In such an atmosphere, there will be no juvenile delinquency or
marital problems or child-parent clashes. Each individual will find love
... and hence security (which alone promotes that emotional health we
It will be a place where the calendar years and the emotional
[This article was copied from the July-August 1994 "RESTORATION",
the publication of Madonna House Inc., Combermere, Ontario, Canada,
K0J 1L0. Italics in the original article are indicated by *asterisks*.
Catherine DeHueck Doherty founded the Madonna House Apostolate
as a training center for the lay apostolate at the request of P.Pius XII
in the late 1940's. Read "Tumbleweed" ISBN 0921440-12-X for a very
readable, engaging, and exciting account of this remarkable woman's life.]
The electronic form of this document is copyrighted.
Copyright (c) Trinity Communications 1994.
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