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Different Vocations: Same Call to Holiness Patrick and Sarah Williams Madonna House Apostolate

Married couple from Texas share insights on the nuptial character of the relationship and living out evangelical counsels in marriage.

Patrick and Sarah Williams, close friends from Texas, were invited to give a presentation via Zoom to the staff and guests a few months ago. Their talk focused on the intimate connection between marriage and consecration as responses to Christ's call to "be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).

According to Patrick and Sarah, both marriage and consecration involve a deep exclusivity with God, and the ultimate perfection is a nuptial relationship with Christ the Bridegroom. Christian marriage is seen as an image of Christ's relationship with the Church, as expressed in Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

They explained that a person choosing the consecrated life is choosing to live this relationship now by following Christ in the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Both states of life involve vows or promises, with the evangelical virtues relating to the totality of one's being.

The evangelical counsels battle the threefold concupiscence identified by St. John and referred to by Pope John Paul II in writings of the philosophers Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. To understand the nuptial character of the relationship with Christ, the consecrated person must look to married persons. The married person, on the other hand, looks to the consecrated person to see the "end goal" of nuptial vows.

Sarah and Patrick, who have been married for thirteen years and have nine children, explained that in their marriage, they consciously live out the evangelical counsels. They live out poverty by pooling their money and making decisions together, and they live out chastity by shaping their desires to each other. They also practice mutual obedience, valuing what the other values and making their decisions as a couple.

They emphasized the importance of self-mastery and discipline, and how it has helped them in their marriage and in raising their children. They also highlighted the significance of preparing oneself for marriage long before finding a partner, and the impact that behavior while dating or during engagement can have on married life.

In conclusion, Patrick and Sarah shared that consciously living out the evangelical counsels in their marriage has been a blessing for them and has helped them grow closer to the Lord.

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