10 October 2014

Blessed Anna Maria Taigi - An Example for the Synod on the Family

One thing I haven't seen or heard coming from the Synod on the Family taking place in Rome is for those in troubled marriages or families to look to the examples of the saints who found holiness in just those circumstances. Lots of talk about "new methods" very little about the tried and true. In fact for the past 50 years all we have done is try to find new ways of communicating the Faith with a secular world that doesn't care or want to hear what we have to say. It reminds me of an old Bloom County cartoon where Opus the Penguin who was always concerned about his weight was trying several fad diets. His friend Milo would chide him by saying, "how about eat less and exercise more?" And Opus would always reply, "no, I'm going to try..." hoping that this time the result would be different.

Yet how many saints, canonized or not, have found holiness in their own lives through the examples of the saints before them? Since I haven't seen anyone else mention it yet may I suggest the book on the life of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, Wife, Mother, Mystic. She is just one of many saints or blesseds to endure a difficult marriage or home life. The book is available at TAN Books or other retailers. There is also a good article online based on the book found here. (This article is good, I can't vouch for anything else on the website being good or not.)
 An excerpt:
At age 20, on January 7, 1790, she married Domenico Taigi, who was a poor porter or “servant” of the chef for Prince Chigi. Domenico’s morals and piety were very good, but he had a terrible temper. Or, as the decree for Anna’s Beatification puts it “his [Domenico] manners were rough and uncultured and his temperment undesirable.” His brusque and turbulent manner and quick temper caused Anna much suffering, but it also caused her to exercise her virtue of patience, meekeness, humility and forgiveness. She learned that a smile and silence often appeased his wrath. He never was physically abusive to her, but he certainly was a tyrant at times. Nevertheless, he loved her deeply, as once can easily detect the frank and sincere testimonies that he gave during the official process of her Beatification. As the years progressed she bore seven children, three of whom died in childhood. The remaining two boys and two girls grew to maturity with her ever attentive concern for both their religious and moral upbringing, along with their secular education. - 
"The poor, the great of the world, the princes of the Church came to her for advice or help. They found her in the midst of her household cares and often suffering from illness. She refused neither her last crust of bread nor the most precious moments of her time, yet she would accept neither presents nor praise."Her most powerful friends could not induce her to allow them to favor her children beyond the conditions in which they were born. When she was at the end of her resources she told God about it, and God sent what was necessary. 
"She thought it good to live from day to day, like the birds, A refugee queen in Rome wished to give her money. 'Madame,' she kindly said, 'how simple you are. I serve God, and He is richer than you.’"She touched the sick, and they were cured; she warned others of their approaching end, and they died holy deaths. She endured great austeri­ties for the souls in Purgatory, and the souls, once set free came to thank her .... She suffered in body and soul. ... She realized that her role was to expiate the sins of others, that Jesus was associating her with His sacrifice, and that she was to be a victim in union with Him. The pains of Divine Love have an intoxication that no words can explain. After Holy Communion there were times when she sank down as though smitten by a prostrating stroke. To tell the truth, her state of ecstasy was continual because her sense of the presence of God was continual. ... All pain was sweet to her .... She went her way, her feet all bloody; with shining eyes she followed the Royal Way.” 
"Behold, then, the spectacle God raised to men's sight in Rome during that long tempestuous period which began at the time the humble Anna­ Maria took to the way of saints. Pope Pius VI dies at Valence; Pius VII is a prisoner at Fontainebleau; the Revolution will reappear before Gregory XVI reigns. Men are saying that the day of the Popes is over, that Christ s law and Christ Himself are on the wane, that science will soon have relegated this so-called Son of God to the realm of dreams . . . . He will work no more miracles.” 
"But at precisely this time God raised up this woman to cure the sick .... He gives her know­ledge of the past, present and future. She declares that Pius VII will return to his seat in Rome. She sees even beyond the reign of Pius IX She is God's answer to the challenge of unbelief." -

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