A Letter for Parents from Pope Pius XII
Dear Married Couples,
I want to speak to you today about the greatest honor your marriage and family can possibly have. I mean when God asks to take a part of your family for himself. God has blessed your marriage and given you children. Someday, you do not know when, he may knock on the door of your home, just as he did when he called Zebedee’s two sons to follow him. Just think, it is from faithful Catholic families such as yours that Christ will choose priests to care for the Church, and religious sisters and brothers to teach and save souls. If the Divine Master comes and asks for “his part”–one of your children — what will you do? Will you support the holy inspirations that are speaking to their hearts? Will you help them to hear his voice whispering: “Do you love me? Will you follow me?” In God’s name I beg you, do not discourage their openness to the Divine Call.
If some day God grants you the great honor of calling one of your children for this service, recognize the value and privilege entailed. Graces will be available for the child who receives the call, for yourselves, and for your entire family. This is a great gift from heaven coming into your home. If you encourage your child, the flower and fruit of your marriage, to accept the vocation of priesthood, just think of the number of prayers and Masses he will offer for you and the rest of the family. Each day these prayers will accompany your steps; they will follow and comfort you your whole life long, until your last breath and even beyond. Never think that in giving their hearts totally to our Lord they will love you less. Love for God does not negate or destroy nature, rather it perfects and elevates it to a higher level so that it is like Christ’s love. If the requirements of priestly or consecrated life require your family to sacrifice certain expressions of affection, have no doubt; the affection itself will never weaken or grow tepid. This sacrifice will cause your child’s affection to burn more deeply and still more intensely, free from all self-seeking.
Do not be afraid of the holy vocation that has come down from heaven to rest upon your children. If you have faith in God and his Church, is it not a comfort and joy to see your own son at the altar clothed with the priestly vestments, offering the sacrifice of the Mass and praying for his mother and father? Is it not a great consolation, that makes a mother’s heart beat with love for her daughter, to see her consecrated to Christ, serving him and loving him with her whole being?
Think of a priest who has been close to your family or visited you, giving attention and guidance to you and your children, and bringing you happiness. What family did he come from? Where did he come from to be with you? Who sent him? Who formed in his heart such a fatherly love for you, such words of counsel and friendship?
How deep is our Christian faith really, if we refuse to cooperate and help in the work of spreading the Catholic Faith, not merely with material gifts but also with the gift of our children? If God asks for them, will you oppose him? Trust him.; he is our Father, he is our Savior, he is our friend.
Dear married couples, help the Church and help Christ with the fruit of your marriage. Give God the portion of your blessing for which he asks.
-Pope Pius XII , March 25, 1942