Gianna Beretta Molla was a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love. In a letter to her future husband a few days before their marriage, she wrote: Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women. (Pope John Paul II, Canonization Homily 5/16/04)
Divine love is truly about sacrifice, because it mimics the love of Christ as He laid down His life: The Father loves me because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; and this is the command I have been given by my Father. (John 10:17-18) St. Gianna, likewise, laid down her life for her family of her own free will, and through Christ, is given it back again.
In many ways we, too, are called to lay down our lives each day for our spouses, our family, our friends. Our love for them should have the spark of the divine. In his Palm Sunday homily, Pope Benedict XVI stated:"There is the gravitational force of God's love: the fact that we are loved by God and respond in love attracts us upwards." Christ's love for us is what ignites that spark within us, that beautiful sentiment which St. Gianna reminds us that God put into our souls. Divine love is never a grasping, selfish love; it is a love which serves and gives freely to others. It is a love which pulls our souls out of ourselves and up towards the heavens, to reach the heights God intended for us.
Too often love in our culture is reduced to the physical, and we miss out on the best part: the melding of souls. St. Gianna and Pietro were true soul-mates because the two became one in Christ. Without God as part of a marriage there is little hope of a perfect union. With Christ, each mate seeks the best for the other, and that sacrificial attitude brings about divine love.
What can we do today to bring the divine to earth? Let us ask St. Gianna's intercession for help in being messengers of divine love.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla, pray for us!