Monday, July 16, 2012

Guest Post from Kristin! A Little Cenacle

It's so exciting to plan and daydream about your wedding day, but obviously, the big day's only the start of an even bigger adventure.  Sharing a living space, covers, a fridge, and life in general can seem overwhelming sometimes, but one of the best things about the faith is that we're never going at it alone.  The saints always have our back.

Remember my friend Kristin?  She is so, so impossibly lovely; she and her husband Jed are always beaming at each other like it's a solar eclipse,  in tune with the Holy Spirit, and eager to surrender everything to His will.  I'm thrilled to share some of her amazing words with you today!  Read on.

So you've finished that last thank you note, you've done your time at the DMV changing your name, and you've finally recycled that last moving box and have begun to set up your little home.  This is a most joyful time, but it also has its stresses: curtains or blinds?  Both?

As tempted as I am by Pinterest to devote hours to revamping our space, I think it is good to remember something.  Our Lord and Savior, the King of Kings, came to us in a small stable and was laid in a manger that held fodder for animals.  Now, this shouldn't make us feel comfortable with living in a pigsty, but it should remind us that even the dullest, most lackluster place can be transformed when we think of ways to make our most important guest welcome.  I would like to offer some thoughts that have truly inspired me and my husband.  About a year ago, I began a kind of literary pursuit to "make friends with the Saints."  These men and women have so much to offer by means of spiritual guidance. Let's take a look into the life of Saint Gianna Beretta  Molla.

If I were at a party in her home, I imagine St. Gianna would be the perfect hostess; a humble servant with a radiant smile and the knack for making everyone else catch her contagious joy.  Everyone would want to be near her and she would make each guest feel as though the party was in his or her honor.  While reading the book Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor, I learned more about her life.  In love with the Lord from a young age, she sought to bring Him to others.  At the age of 20, she began her studies in medicine.  Seven years later, she met Pietro Molla, the man who would become the love of her life.  The book, written by Pietro, contains many letters between Gianna and Pietro, and it is clear that their love was rooted in the eternal love of Christ.  They were so adorable, so passionate, and so infectiously joyful.  They were married in 1955.  Shortly before their wedding day, Gianna wrote to Pietro,

"With God's help and blessing we will do our best to make our new family a little Cenacle where Jesus reigns over all our affections, desires, and actions...There are only a few days to go and I feel moved at that thought of approaching and receiving the "Sacrament of Love."  We will become collaborators with God in His creation and so we will be able to give Him children that love and serve Him."

I was struck by these words a year or so before our own wedding.  Our Lord once again reminded meow them as we began to form our own little home these last few months.  "A little Cenacle."  A cenacle is typically understood as "a small circle or room."  Traditionally, people understood "cenacle" to mean the location of the Last Supper.  A place set aside for Our Lord and His nearest and dearest that would enclose one of the greatest mysteries and gifts ever given to man--His very Body and Blood--the marriage between His people and Himself.  Our Lord comes into us, into our very beings.  Ponder that for just a moment.  How does that transform us?  How do we make our homes into places which help us welcome our Lord and invite Him into our midst?

In a whopping eight months of marriage, my best friend and I have come to understand a few ways:

  • The coziest home is the home that is the most peaceful.  We found that praying together in the morning really sets the day off on the right foot.  It gives us the armor we need against all that wants to keep us from God and from living our vocation of marriage to the fullest.
  • Blending two sets of needs and responsibilities takes some juggling in the beginning.  This isn't a bad time; it's an interesting time and you learn a lot.  Taking the time to ask God what He wants you to do and when to do so makes a huge difference.  You might think that God isn't particularly interested in humdrum daily activities, but I promise you He is.  He loves to be invited into our work and in turn, transform it into His work.  Gianna explained it well when she said, "one earns paradise with one's daily task."
  • Having tangible reminders around our home helps us to remember that our faith is living and present.  The Saints are praying for us, and having them around gives loads of encouragement, much like loved ones in frames and albums.  The Crucifix, in particular, reminds us that marriage mirrors the same sacrifice.  We give to each other completely and totally.  This stretches us.  It exposes our faults and makes us vulnerable, but it ultimately helps us rise to new life in Him.
  • Religious orders have rules to live by.  In talking with other couples we are close to, we have found that having regular habits keep us grounded in our prayer life.  These habits might include the Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, reading Scripture together, and blessing each other whenever parting.  These times to pray together are crucial, but also making sure each of you has personal prayer time is of great importance.  That might mean sacrificing time together after dinner, but it truly is one of the most loving things you can do for your spouse.
  • The last ways expressed quite beautifully in Gianna's own words: "the secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all the He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day."  Cultivate the habits of thanksgiving and joy.  In all things.  This means transforming complaining and gossip into surrender and trust in the Lord, and having your spouse to help you be accountable is a huge blessing.

I hope you find these small ways helpful.  Whether you're married now or will be soon, I pray that our Lord be a seal on your hearts and the inspiration for your little cenacle.  May He bless you and your loved one with the strength and grace to persevere toward your primary goal of eternity with Him.

In Christ,

Want to be a guest blogger on Captive the Heart?  Email me at!

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