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From Chapter 1 of Saint Josemaría Escrivá’s book The Way: Character

#27

You laugh because I tell you that you have a ‘vocation for marriage’? Well, you have just that: a vocation.

Commend yourself to the Archangel Raphael that he may keep you pure, as he did Tobias, until the end of the way.

*****

A vocation is an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which he or she is suited, trained or qualified. It is a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation. Synonyms include: calling, life’s work, mission, purpose or function.

Though not as much as in times passed, the word vocation for many is still tied to a religious calling. But it has evolved with an emphasis now shifting to an individual’s development of talents and abilities in the choice and enjoyment of a career.

But it may apply to other areas, too. Areas such as marriage or parenthood.

Marriage is a Sacrament. A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification. Matrimony primarily affects the recipients as a social being and sanctify them in the fulfillment of their duties towards the Church and society. The man and woman are to imitate the union of Christ to His Church. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

Marriage is a higher calling, not to be entered into lightly with grand thoughts of expensive and fancy weddings, or feelings of the moment which cause us to rush into a commitment before we are committed. We must ourselves be ready for the lifelong commitment before we can expect another to do the same, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do us part.

You may read the biblical story of the archangel Raphael and Tobias from the book of Tobit on Wikipedia. In Chapter 8, when Tobias and Sarah are wed, Tobias prays alongside his new bride

“Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers, and blessed be thy holy and glorious name for ever. Let the heavens and all thy creatures bless thee.

Thou madest Adam and gavest him Eve his wife as a helper and support. From them the race of mankind has sprung.

Thou didst say, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.’

And now, O Lord, I am not taking this sister of mine because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her.”  And she said with him, “Amen.” – Tobit 8:5-8

marriage of tobias and sarah_cropped

Meanwhile, in another part of his house, Sarah’s father Raguel prays for the couple:

“Blessed art thou, O God, with every pure and holy blessing. Let thy saints and all thy creatures bless thee; let all thy angels and thy chosen people bless thee for ever.

Blessed art thou, because thou hast made me glad. It has not happened to me as I expected; but thou hast treated us according to thy great mercy.

Blessed art thou, because thou hast had compassion on two only children. Show them mercy, O Lord; and bring their lives to fulfilment in health and happiness and mercy.” – Tobit 8:15-17

We all have a vocation or vocations. They are gifts to be nurtured, valued and cultivated, not too easily discarded or thrown away. Not to be laughed at.

Exit questions:

  1. When is the last time you prayed for your spouse?
  2. When was the last time you prayed with your spouse?
  3. Have you prayed for your children and their spouses lately?
  4. Have you prayed for the future spouse, even if their identity is yet unknown, of you…or of your children?
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