|Our Lady of Assumption Basilica in Alençon, Orne where
the Martin’s were married. Photo by Pierre-Yves Emile.
Day Three: Desire and Welcome Life
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
“The family is the privileged setting where every person learns to give and receive love. That is why the Church constantly wishes to demonstrate her pastoral concern for this reality, so basic for the human person. […] It is the setting where men and women are enabled to be born with dignity, and to grow and develop in an integral manner.
“Married couples must accept the child born to them, not simply as theirs alone, but also as a child of God, loved for his or her own sake and called to be a son or daughter of God.”
Benedict XVI, Fifth World Meeting of Families, 8–9 July 2006
“I therefore invite parents to pray, that the hearts of their children may be open to listening to the Good Shepherd, and that each tiny seed of a vocation […] may grow into a mature tree, bearing much good fruit for the Church and for all humanity.”
Benedict XVI, Regina Caeli, 25 April 2010
“As for me, I’m crazy about children, I was born to have them, but it will soon be time for that to be over. I’ll be forty-one years old the twenty-third of this month, old enough to be a grandmother.”
Letter of Zélie to her sister-in-law, CF 83
“Don’t worry that your little Jeanne is too lively. That won’t keep her from being an excellent child later on and from being a comfort to you. I remember that Pauline was the same way until the age of two. I was very upset about it, and now, she’s my best child. I must tell you that I didn’t spoil her, and, as little as she was, I didn’t let her get away with anything, yet without making a martyr out of her, but she had to obey.”
Letter of Zélie to her brother Isidore, CF 44
Amid our life’s difficulties, Louis and Zélie Martin remind us that God wants everyone to have superabundant life: he gives it in families through children, and he gives it in other ways as well. Let us open our hearts to receive what the Lord wants to give us.
O Lord, you search me and you know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you.
Before ever a word is on my tongue,
you know it, O Lord, through and through.
For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation.
Already you knew my soul,
my body held no secret from you
when I was being fashioned in secret
and molded in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw all my actions,
they were all of them written in your book;
every one of my days was decreed
before one of them came into being.
O search me, God, and know my heart.
O test me and know my thoughts.
See that I follow not the wrong path
and lead me in the path of life eternal.
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.