Jul 20, 2016
When Zélie and Louis Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, were canonized in 2015, it must have crossed the minds of many in the Church: Why aren’t there more canonized saints among married women and men?
Vatican II and the Call to Universal Holiness: the Laity/Married People/
In the Dogmatic Constitution, “The Church,” the Fathers at Vatican II explicitly called for the universal holiness of all according to their vocation in life. Jesus preached holiness of life to each and every one of his disciples: “You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or stature are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity.
The document was emphatic about the holiness of all, that lay men and lay women were called to holiness, not in the same way as consecrated religious men and women. Consecrated life was no longer more esteemed than consecrated married life. Everyone is called to holiness according to the vocation one has chosen. Only the manner in which it is lived marks the distinguishing characteristic: “Married couples and Christian parents should follow their own proper path to holiness by faithful love, sustaining one another in grace throughout the entire length of their lives. They should imbue their offspring, lovingly welcomed from God, with Christian truths and evangelical virtues.” (29) In the home, yes, in every room of the home, God’s graces are present and at work to sanctify family life—conjugal love and the love among the other members of the family. Many times heroic virtue is needed to cooperate with these graces.