|Les Buissonnets, The Martin family house in Lisieux. Photo by Kristi Tyler.|
Day Six: Marriage Through the Test of Time
“It was thy word, O Lord, which heals all men.” Wisdom 16:12
“This lack of wine [at the wedding at Cana] brings to mind the moment in a couple’s life when love ends, joy runs out and the enthusiasm of the marriage suddenly drains away. [… But Jesus transforms] the water into wine. We know that this ‘good wine’ is a symbol of salvation, of the new nuptial covenant that Jesus came to make with humanity. Yet every Christian marriage, even the most wretched and insecure one, is a sacrament of precisely this and therefore can find in humility the courage to ask the Lord for help. When a husband and wife in difficulty or even already separated entrust themselves to Mary and turn to the One who made ‘one flesh’ of two, they can be certain that, with the Lord’s help, this crisis will become a passage of growth and that love will emerge from it purified, matured and strengthened.”
Benedict XVI, Address to the World Meeting of the Retrouvaille Movement, 26 September 2008
“I wonder if my plan to go see you will ever be realized. I encounter so many obstacles that I dream about them at night. For example, one time I dreamed that I left, and I saw my husband make a long face, saying that I was leaving him in a predicament. The next day, I told him about my dream, and he said that I had dreamed the truth. He didn’t need to tell me; I know it well. It’s true that it’s not easy for me to be away, above all because of my lace business. And then, when it’s necessary to leave four children for two weeks, it’s a little long. However, I really want to get away, but I don’t know how to do it.”
Letter of Zélie to her brother Isidore, CF 19
As we entrust our intention for this novena to Louis and Zélie Martin, let us consider how they emerged victorious from the test of time, and invoke their fidelity.
Blessed be the Lord, my rock
who trains my arms for battle,
who prepares my hands for war.
He is my love, my fortress;
he is my stronghold, my savior,
my shield, my place of refuge.
He brings peoples under my rule.
Lord, what is man that you care for him,
mortal man, that you keep him in mind;
man, who is merely a breath,
whose life fades like a shadow?
Reach down from heaven and save me;
draw me out from the mighty waters,
from the hands of alien foes.
Let our sons then flourish like saplings
grown tall and strong from their youth:
our daughters graceful as columns,
adorned as though for a palace.
Let our barns be filled to overflowing
with crops of every kind;
our sheep increasing by thousands,
myriads of sheep in our fields,
our cattle heavy with young,
no ruined wall, no exile,
no sound of weeping in our streets.
Happy the people with such blessings;
happy the people whose God is the Lord.
Glory to the Father…
O God, in Louis and Zélie Martin you have given us an example of holiness lived in marriage.
Look kindly upon the families of our time, and strengthen them with your love;
Let young people find in them the support they need to hear your voice and respond to your call.
Support the sick and the elderly with your power.
Louis and Zélie loved to pray to Notre-Dame des Victoires; through her intercession, we present to you our intention for this novena…
(period of silence, or state the intention)
Watch over us, and lead us at last into your kingdom of love.
Notre-Dame des Victoires, pray for us.
Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for us.
Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, pray for us.
Novena translated by Elizabeth and Turner Nevitt from: Neuvaine par l’intercession des bienheureux Louis and Zélie Martin. Basilique Notre-Dame des Victoires (Paris). Éditions Salvator: Paris, 2010. Used with permission of Hervé Soubias, rector of the Basilica of Notre-Dame des Victoires, Paris.
Louis and Zélie Martin. A Call to a Deeper Love: The Family Correspondence of the Parents of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, 1863–1885. Ed. Frances Renda. Trans. Ann Conors Hess. New York: St Paul, 2010. Translation of Correspondance familiale (1863–1885), Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2009.
“Benedict XVI.” https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en.html
The Psalms: The Grail Translation. 1963.
The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition. 1966.