Married life takes a daily dose of being heroic. “It is necessary that the heroic becomes daily, and that the daily becomes heroic.”
These beautiful words of wisdom are from St. Zelie Martin, whose feast we celebrate on July 12th. Zelie and her husband, St. Louis, are the patron saints of marriage and parenting. For a good reason, too! If their name is familiar, it should be. They are St. Therese Martin of Lisieux’s parents.
Saints Zelie and Louis Martin:
Louis and Zelie were married for nineteen years and bore nine children (only five survived early childhood). He owned a jewelry shop in France, and she was a homemaker. All five of their adult children have been declared a higher status in the Catholic Church (Servant of God, beautified, or canonized) and St. Therese is, obviously, the best known.
These two great saints did not perform miracles or produce great writing contributions. They were not religious clergy who ministered to people around the world. Louie and Zelie did not going out and doing incredible things in their lives. In fact, very little is known about them. However, they reached Heaven by living their vocation as spouses and parents: they raised saints. Find more about them here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saints-louis-martin-and-zelie-guerin/
Influence on My Life:
As a stay-at-home mother, and especially since being pregnant again, I confess I often say the words, “I got nothing done today.” Too many times, I’ll intend to clean something that was left untouched I have a list of errands to run that didn’t get done. Any number of tasks on my to-do list go unchecked. Then later that day, my sweet husband always reminds me, “You did everything today. You loved our son.”
Louis and Zelie are heroic saints not because they did what the world would recognize as great things. Instead it is because they were heroic in their daily lives. It is heroic for a man to go to work for 8+ hours and sacrifice being away from his home for his family. As a woman it is heroic to surrender her schedule (and sometimes, sanity) to her children and prioritize loving them above all else. Also heroic is to end a long day with nighttime prayers, snuggles, and stories Then still heroic is to put the kiddos to bed, wash the dishes, shower, and collapse on the couch with your spouse and a bowl of ice cream.
That’s just life for us parents. It is not significant., nor great. We parents may not do anything that would be considered a miracle for canonization. However, when we model the love of God to our children to the degree that they model it out in the world is significant, great, and miraculous.
Parents are Hero’s:
Parents are often called to surrender our abilities to do what we want with our lives. Perfectly portrayed in the classic It’s A Wonderful Life, parents don’t usually go out and do “great things” in every corner of the world. We stay home, we love our families, and that’s everything.
To become a true saint, the heroic must become daily. We must die to ourselves for the love of God, sacrifice our selfish desires, and live the life He calls us to. To be a good parent, the daily must become heroic. We must model the love of a heavenly Father to our children, with unconditional love and merciful justice. One must die to themselves for the children the Lord has entrusted to our care. If we can do that, maybe we too can pave our way to Heaven through daily heroics.