Happy third week of Lent to all women of grace! If you don’t already know me, my name is Jacqueline Burkepile, and I’m a Catholic newlywed of about nine months. I wrote a blog for Women of Grace in January focusing on becoming a holier wife. I may not be the most experienced wife on the planet, but in nine months, I’ve learned a lot about marriage. I spoke with mine and my husband’s pastor, Fr. Kyle Walterscheid, on how to approach this next blog, and I think you will enjoy the suggestions I have in store for you today.
This Lent is very different for me because it will be the first time I share it. My husband is the man God called me to live my life with. He’s the one God made just for me and I just for him. God specifically called us to each other and he knows that we are best suited for one another to lead each other toward salvation. Lent is a time to strengthen one’s faith through prayer, fasting, and charity, and to meditate on and remember the Passion of Jesus Christ. Why should I not strive grow in holiness with my husband as well? Lent is the perfect time and opportunity to make goals of holiness with our husbands. Below are a few suggestions.
Together, with our husbands, let us focus on the cardinal virtues. Fr. Kyle suggests meditating on one virtue per week. Since we have approximately four weeks left, there is one for each remaining week.
Find a Bible verse or quote by one of the saints and put it into action throughout the week. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “a virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. (Catholic Church 1803)” Here are some examples:
1) Prudence: “…A prudent wife is from the LORD” – Prv. 19:14
One way we can practice prudence is through proper use of our voice. This virtue is one that many priests tell me to practice, especially regarding complaints and negativity which brings my husband down rather than filling him with God’s joy. Remembering to think about what we say before we say it and supplying our husbands with encouragement and positive reinforcement when our own wills tell us otherwise are good ways to practice prudence. Let us ask God to help us use our voices with prudence.
2) Justice: “On the way of righteousness I walk, along the paths of justice…” Prv. 8:20.
The Catechism says that “justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor.” We are called as women of God to follow our vocations as wives. This means giving our entire being to the person we made this lifelong commitment to on our wedding day. We owe our husbands the greatest love we can possibly give at every moment of every day. Let us practice the virtue of justice by loving our husbands as we would love Christ Himself.
3) Fortitude: “Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.” – Ps. 23:4
I’m sure we all know by now that marriage is not easy. It takes sacrifice. There are trials, temptations, and tribulations that we must overcome each day of our lives. This is where fortitude comes in. On our wedding day, we took vows that we would be faithful and true in and through everything. I hear of marriages falling apart every day, and fortitude is one of those virtues we must especially pray for. Overcoming obstacles through prayer and sacrifice will make our faith and marriages stronger. I cannot stress this enough. Let us ask God through Our Lady’s intercession for the virtue of fortitude in our marriages.
4) Temperance: “Older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.” Titus 2:3-5.
This passage is an example of how we, as wives and women of God can practice temperance in our homes. By merely being self-controlled, prayerful, and being a good example to our families, we can practice temperance in our everyday lives, particularly within our marriage. Let us ask God for the virtue of temperance in everything we do.
I pray that the rest of your Lenten season will be full of love for Jesus Christ. May we all grow in virtue and become the saints God wishes us to be. “Persevere in your holy vocation, to which the Lord has so obviously called you. Keep in mind that the crown of salvation is won by those who persevere.” – St. Francis of Paola