Justin: I am reading an interesting book. The story takes place in the middle ages and is about a man, Jacomo, who following a great personal tragedy goes in search of meaning in his life. He is subsequently awestruck by the person and St. Francis of Assisi. The turning point of the story comes when he sees a picture from the life of St. Francis. In the picture, Saint Francis is standing naked in the town square offering up even his robes and thus rejecting his own personal wealth and the world. In response, Jacomo (also a wealthy man), gives all he has to the poor to become a Franciscan brother traveling the countryside as a poor beggar and preacher.
Similarly, I have been struck by the actions and simplicity of our new Pope Francis. Pope Francis is clearly demonstrating for us the spirit of Saint Francis in his rejection of pageantry and his solidarity with the poor and imprisoned.
This has led me to ask myself the question, “How am I as a husband called to reject the world?”
Obviously, I cannot give all I have to the poor or travel the streets as a poor beggar and preacher. My calling is to feed and provide for my family. Still, in the past week I have been convinced that each one of us is called to reject the world for the sake of heaven in a way specific to our own call.
So, how are married couples called the reject the world? One way is through openness to life. I read a statistic that 80% of Catholic married couples are using contraception despite the clear teachings of the church. Why is contraception so common in our culture?
One reason is because of fear. Having children is a scary proposition. Gus is very demanding. He demands time, money, and energy. I have had to give up some of my hobbies. The decision for Sara to be a stay at home mom means we will have to drive older cars, live in a smaller house, and pinch pennies. We give up opportunities to go out to dinner or going to movies.
All of these are good things, but just as Francis rejected the world for the sake of heaven, we have chosen to give them up for something better! Gus makes me a better person every day. Each day his demands slowly make me less selfish (albeit a process that sometimes hurts). Each day choosing to meet Gus’s needs lessens my attachment to material things and teaches me how to love. In other words, each day Gus helps me to put aside the things of the world and to choose Jesus.