THE HOLY SPOUSES
St. Gaspar Bertoni 1777-1853.
At that time in the Catholic Church, there were many different
devotions. Some of them with solid biblical foundations, others had
their beginning only from popular traditions.
Fr.Bertoni was the spiritual director of many founders and he recommended to them the most appropriate patron for their congregations (for example the Sacred Heart, Holy Family, and St.Joseph). However for his own congregation he chose as patrons the Holy Spouses.
Fr.Bertoni read the whole Bible many times before the ordination so his preaching, teaching and devotions were well rooted in the Bible. He promoted, in Verona, the devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St.Joseph and the Immaculate even if at that time it was not a dogma.
But on November 4th,1816, when Bertoni, started the congregation of
Missionaries for the help of the Bishops, to the great surprise of many,
he chose the Holy Spouses as patrons, because they are the symbol
of the Virginal Love that is Single, Total, Eternal love, that is the
perfect love that we can contemplate only in the Holy Trinity. That
choice was a providential inspiration from God.
The mass media now, are spreading hedonism, free love, birth
control, artificial insemination, abortion, euthanasia, divorce, marriage
between gays and lesbians and are exalting all these unethical actions
as a civil progress. After many years of lies now many persons start
to understand that those teachings are a boomerang and the governments have to spend billions to cure venereal diseases.
Only a stable and holy family, are the best medicine for a
prosperous society. Many problems of our time are originated by wrong love.
St.Gaspar, wanted to present to the world, the examples of two real
persons, spouses and parents in order to give lasting happiness to all
the couples and to form a very stable society.
The Stigmatines must look at the Holy Spouses for learning how to
live happy together as a community and to spread this joy in the society
and helping the people to respect the laws of the Creator.
So the Holy Spouses are the example of the Single, Total and Eternal love for Jesus.
But if we want this love to begin, increase and persist, we must nourish
him with the Bible, the Holy Cross and Eucharist.
St.Gaspar, before the ordination read the whole Bible many
times. Every day he spent hours doing the Lectio Divina.
So his teaching and homilies were full of references to the Bible.
Every Friday he used to do, with the people, the Way of the Cross.
And because of the big cross he put over the main altar of the
church, we are called Stigmatines that is we must have a special
devotion for the Five Wounds of the Risen Jesus Christ.
But the pillar of St.Gaspar’s spiritual life, was the devotion to
the Holy Eucharist. Gaspar, received the first communion in 1788 at the
age of 11. After 20 years, in October 1808, he remembered that moment as the meeting with the Divine Spouse.
Even when the sufferings in his leg were intolerable, he used to
spend hours in adoration of the Eucharist.
Fr. Bertoni speaks very often about Holy Abandonment
that is to trust in God as the child entrusts in his mother.
This kind of love and confidence, are visible in the prompt
obedience of the Holy Spouses Joseph and Mary.
The Stigmatines, must have this kind of spirit and to spread it to
all the people, so that all can taste the beauty of Virginal Love
here, and after that, to enjoy the Eternal Love in Heaven.
THE TRINITY AND HOLY SPOUSES
Family is a word used in heaven and earth.
The foundation of the family must be Jesus and the two spouses.
To be valid, the Church teaches that marriage must be done with love, freedom, must be fertile and forever.
The Church has presented the virginal marriage between Mary and Joseph, as a model for all kinds of marriage.
The devotion for the Holy Spouses began in eternity, that is, from the time that the Trinity decided to entrust the Son to two human spouses. ( C.C.C. Catechism of the Catholic Church )
In the Bible there are numerous nuptial and maternal symbols to emphasize God’s paternal and maternal love for humanity
“ My beloved had a vineyard ” Is.5.1 ; 54,5-14
“ My heart kept vigil I heard the knock of my beloved ”Song.5,2
“A mother can forget her son. God cannot forget us” Is.49,15.
“God carries, comforts, nurses us”. Is.40,11 ; 46,3 ; 66,12-13.
Finally at the fullness of the times, Gabriel told Mary
“ Do not fear you will be spouse, mother and virgin”Lk.1,26-38
And for Joseph “ Do not be afraid to take Mary as wife because she has conceived by the Holy Spirit ”. Mt.1,18-21
From that moment on Mary and Joseph started to live together to prepare a useful home for the Son of God and real son of Mary. “ Son why have you done this to us…?
Do you not know that I must be in my Father’s house…?
At Nazareth Jesus continued to be subject to them ” Lk.2,41-52.
After the conception, Mary and Joseph, act as the real spouses and real parents of Jesus. Mt 1,22-25.
In fact, is the spouse Joseph, who gives the name to Jesus Mt.1,21 and takes care of the wife Mary and her Son to go to Egypt. When they came back to Nazareth once again, was the spouse Joseph, who taught the Bible to Jesus, showed him how to be a good carpenter and how to live in the society Mt.2,13-23.
We do not know when Mary became a widow but she was faithful to her only husband and after his death she took care of Jesus when He was surrouded by the crowd and especially when they “pierced Jesus’s side” and she, as lovable mother, wrapped the Sindon around his body. Ezk.47,1-2 ; Jn.19,31-42 ; 21,1-14
God is not bound to the Sacraments ccc.759 ; 766 ; 1257.
He can save in the way that He knows ccc.515 ; 618 ; 831 ;
836-7 ; 846-848. But He wants to communicate his redemption through external and visible signs. ccc.1127 ; 1131.
One of these signs is the sacrament of marriage ccc. 1601-1666.
Therefore, the person who wishes to get married , should make a very deep preparation and ask for a special blessing from God.
The foundation = holy… spouses. The roof = holy… family.
For this reason, on January 23rd 1961 the Pope John 23rd has placed the feast of the Holy Spouses in the calendar of the universal Church. So, to confuse the feast of the Holy Spouses with the Holy Family, means not to understand the maternal love of the Trinity for humanity. Today the family is like a bureaucratic and private business. Today, technology can create a family with two persons of the same gender. We can order our children with the gender and color that we like as we do with our car. The children can have two, tree, four parents.
Therefore, if we want a real human society, we have to start again from Trinity’s salvation plan which with love has prepared the spouses Joseph and Mary first, and after that they entrusted the beloved Son, the cornerstone, and all the human families to them. Mt.3,13-17 ; 17,1-8 ; Acts.4,1-12.
The Holy Spouses are the symbol of a virginal love, it means, a single, total and eternal love. Therefore they can be the model for fiancées, married couples and the religious.
They are a perfect example of love to God for the religious and the ideal couple to prepare an honest, right and holy society, following the vocation that God gave to each one.
The real spouses are the foundation of the first society, that is the family, therefore from them only, the children must be born,
and to be the light of the humanity, politic and Church.
So, the devotion to the Holy Spouses, should not be reduced to the annual renewal of the marriage vows.
The spouses, every day, should repeat to each other I love you.
Every day “… today…” they should pray together, meditate the Bible, take part in the Sunday Eucharist in order to receive strength to do their duties and especially to educate their children with the good examples of their daily life.
Every day, after 10-30-70 years of marriage, they should be proud of their reciprocal fidelity. Once again, every day, they should pray for those couples that are living together but without any civil or religious bond or obligations. (www.phuketcatholic.org )
The Catholic Church, looking to the example of the Holy Spouses suggests the necessity of a good preparation before getting married. She emphasizes the same dignity between man and women. She requests freedom in choosing the partner to be the complement of love… So the two spouses could become really one body and one flesh. Gn.2,24 ; Mt.19,5.
Because of these and many other reasons we understand the importance to know and to have devotion to the Holy Spouses. Today, there is the tendency to eliminate the physical differences between man and women. We do not understand the necessity of the fathers and mothers for the education of the children.
Therefore starting from 1215 (Lateran Council) the Church has requested that the marriage must be done freely between two mature persons, and with different gender.
She requested the canonical process. The presence of two witnesses and the promise, to be wife and husband, for all of their lives. Therefore, the feast of the Holy Spouses, is not devotional only, but it is the foundation to form a real human and just society and to have a family living with love.
The marriage, is not a physical action, between man and woman even if, they cannot, formally exclude it.
Finally, the virginal marriage, between Mary and Joseph, manifests the perfect communion of spirit between them,
even if, there was not the sexual union.
Therefore, true union consists in giving and serving each other delicately for reciprocal spiritual happiness , and not just physical complement.
The spouses will be forever spouses, even if, for some physical reason, they cannot have children and they cannot have what normally is called family. With the marriage the spouses entrust to God their love, asking Him, to improve, mature, and perfect it, through the daily prayer, the meditation of the Bible, and especially through the Sunday Eucharist.
Therefore it is difficult to actually educate the children and to have a real complete fusion of the body and spirit, when the two spouses want to follow different religions or they openly declare themselves atheist and refuse any belief .
“ Cursed is the man who trust in human beings… while his heart is drawn away from God ”. Jer,17,5.
The Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph, who St. Gaspar gave as Patrons of the Stigmatines, are the perfect image of the Trinity love for all believers and especially for the religious .
So on Jenuary 23rd we pray Jesus “… to make us worthy to share eternal life with Mary the virgin mother of God and Saint Joseph her spouse ”. “ My Beloved is mine and I am his….
He shepherds his flock among the lilies ” Song.2,188.8.131.52.
► PRAYER TO THE HOLY ESPOUSALS