The joy we always experience in receiving the young husband and wives who come to ask our benediction arises, among other reasons, from the hope we derive in reflecting upon the vast and holy work which God entrusts to them: to restore and promote a strong and healthy society, motivated by a deeply practical Christian spirit and feeling.
Is not the vocation to found a home what He really asks of them?
Home! How many times, dear newlyweds, especially since you have thought of marriage after your engagement, has this word resounded in your ears in the chorus of felicitations and good wishes from your relatives and friends!
How many times has it risen spontaneously from your hearts! How many times has it filled you with ineffable sweetness, embodying an entire dream, an entire ideal, an entire life!
A word of love, a magic word, which all good souls understand and delight to hear, whether they be tasting its actual intimacy, or whether they be thinking of it painfully at great distance, in absence, in prison or whether they joyously greet the hope of its quick return!
And yet perhaps this very magic easily leads us to conceive of the home in a vague way, as if it were wrapped in a rosy and gilded cloud.
This morning, therefore, we would like to have you probe its meaning. An accurate concept will detract nothing from its poetry; rather will it better reveal its beauty, its grandeur and its fruitfulness.
But this beautiful name must be merited by fulfilling two conditions: concentration of heat and radiation of light.
Surely it is not a home where the only satisfaction of young husbands and wives consists in going out of the house as often as possible and where they are discontented without holidays, visits, journeys, vacations, and worldly or more than worldly amusements. No.
A dwelling that is neglected, cold, deserted, silent, dark, and without the serenity and bright warmth of family living, is not a home.
Nor are those dwellings true homes if they are too closed up, barred and almost inaccessible, as if they were prisons or solitary hermitages, where light and heat neither enter from outside nor radiate outward.
And yet, an intimate home is so beautiful if it radiates!
May yours be like this, dear sons and daughters, in the image and likeness of the home of Nazareth! There was never a home more intimate but at the same time more cordial, more lovable, more peaceful in poverty, or more radiant; why does it not live on even now and illumine all Christian society by its radiation?
To the degree in which it is forgotten, you see, to that degree the world grows dark and cold.
But what are these rays which must originate in your home and there find the power to expand into broad flashes of light and heat? Like those which emanate from the sun, they vary in an infinite range of colors and gradation—some brighter, others warmer.
They are the graces and the attractions of the spirit, of the heart, and of the soul; we call them qualities, gifts, talents.
The qualities are the treasures of a two-fold ancestral heritage; the talents have been acquired by work, energy and struggle; the most precious are the gifts, those virtues mysteriously infused into human nature by the gracious love of the Holy Ghost and increased by the practice of Christian life.
Until yesterday your two families were still strangers to each other. Each family had its own traditions, its own memories, its own particular traits of spirit and heart which gave it its own character; each had its own relationships among parents and friends.
And now, on the day of your marriage, your two hearts are joined in a new harmony which will extend through your descendants but which has already begun to resound around you.
Enriched by this two-fold heritage, you take pleasure in your combined personal attainments.
The events and encounters of your domestic, professional and social lives, your conversations, your reading, your studies in literature, in science and art, perhaps even in philosophy, and above all in religion, bring you a most worthwhile return in your hours of intimacy, like bees, heavy with nectar, returning to the hive.
And in your confidences you can distill the sweetest honey, nourishing yourselves and sharing it, perhaps even unconsciously, with all who come in contact with you.
In your daily relationships and the needful meeting of minds which is attained through innumerable little concessions and innumerable little victories, you will acquire and raise to a higher level all the moral virtues: strength and mildness, enthusiasm and patience, frankness and tact.
They will unite you in an overgrowing love, will place your imprint on the education of your children, and will give your dwelling a fascinating attraction which will never cease to radiate to the social circle you frequent or which surrounds you.
These should be the virtues of a family home. In Christian husbands and wives and in Christian families, these are sanctified and elevated to a supernatural order and are therefore incomparably superior to all natural capacities, for when you become children of God there were instilled in your souls, through grace, faculties of a divine order which no purely human effort, however heroic, would be able to generate even in the lowest grade.