Real Life Connection to St. Gianna: Vocation
Gianna and Pietro. How darling were they?!
Gianna and her husband exchanged many letters throughout their courtship. One in particular stuck out to me. It was a note from Pietro to Giannia the night before their wedding. He gave her a gold watch and a pearl necklace with this note:
“Gianna, let these crown the wonder and the brightness of your beauty and your virtues on our wedding day. May the watch always mark the loveliness and most peaceful times of our life, and may this pearl necklace be a sign of the enchanting light of our love. They are given to you, with great affection, by your mother and my mother, and by your Pietro with the greatest love."
Talk about endearing. They had such an awesome marriage, and it was because it was aligned with Christ. Gianna spoke about how we can achieve this:
“Everything has a specific end; everything obeys a law. God has shown each one of us the way, the vocation, and the life of grace that lies beyond physical life. Our earthly and eternal happiness depends on following our vocation without faltering. What is a vocation? It is a gift from God — it comes from God Himself! Our concern, then, should be to know the will of God. We should enter onto the path that God wills for us, not by ‘forcing the door,’ but when God wills and as God wills....”
She says that "everything has a specific end.” We see this everywhere. The natural end of love is to be expressed. The natural end of marriage is children. The natural end of a baby is to be born. The natural end of our life's vocation is to reach heaven. Gianna did well to talk about the importance of vocation. Throughout our lives we hear so much about the importance of getting a degree, landing the right job, traveling to the best places, having a perfect wedding, getting a house, having kids, owning the best material possessions, saving for retirement...but when do we hear about vocation? We often hear about vocation in reference to the priesthood and religious life, which of course is right and good, but sometimes it feels like marriage—as a vocation—gets swept under the rug. Marriage is not just a rite of passage, or something everyone should do. It is a sacramental vocation, one is called to share with a specific person. Marriage, when done well, stabilizes society and provides security and structure for innumerable people, making it the heartbeat of the world and the Church.
Gianna Beretta Molla is a sublime example of participating in marriage as God intended. She discerned that she was meant to be married, and saw it as a special way to love God, knowing the weight of being entrusted with the care of the souls of her husband and children.
Gianna spoke about marriage to a group of young girls at the Catholic Action conference in 1946:
“To be called to family life does not mean getting engaged at the age of 14.... Now is the time to begin to prepare yourself for family life. You cannot follow this path if you do not know how to love. To love means to want to perfect yourself and your beloved, to overcome your egoism, and give yourself completely.”
To Gianna's point, our lives are meant to be a total self-gift. Her life was a stellar example of that self-gift because she ultimately lost her earthly life for the sake of her child. Everyday mothers do similarly in lesser degrees. Gianna’s total sacrifice cannot help but inspire us to do more!
We can look to Gianna as an exemplar in so many stages of our lives: single woman, career woman, wife, and mother. She is one to be celebrated, who truly "gave herself completely.”
REFLECTION "Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sad- ness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9: 6-7)
“You cannot follow this path if you do not know how to love. To love means to want to perfect yourself and your beloved, to overcome your egoism, and give yourself completely.” Gianna Beretta Molla How can I give more of myself in following my vocation?