Not Christmas Gifts, but Your Heart

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Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi[1] were the very first beatified couple at the same time in the Church in our modern time.

Luigi was a law professor at Sapienza University in Italy. Maria was a professor of education. They got married in 1905 at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. After their marriage, there “was a kind of race between” them to grow in holiness. Both of them went to Mass daily, consecrated their home to the Sacred Heart, recited the rosary every night, observed First Friday, and saw their spiritual director once a month. According to Maria, “The day started with Mass and Communion together. We left the church, bought a newspaper on the way home, and then went off to his work and me to my occupation. But always, we thought unceasingly of one another.” Their daughter affirmed, “They solved their problems between themselves through conversation.”

Christmas is not simply to decorate a Christmas tree, go to church but nothing changes in your heart, but it is the feast reminding you how to love, to give, and to sacrifice for one another.

Like many other couples, they also faced financial pressure; however, they sanctified those times through prayer. During World War II, they refused to cooperate with fascism, but never refused the poor and the needy. After conceiving the fourth child, Maria’s chance to survive was just 5 percent, but she completely refused to abort as a doctor recommended.

Luigi passed away in 1951; Maria followed him in 1965. Both were beatified on October 21, 2001. Of their four children, two of them became priests. Their first daughter became a Benedictine nun; the other daughter spent her life to take care of her parents and retired diocesan priests.

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Dear Huynh Trưởng and TNTT, Christmas is a time for you to think about your family. As sons and daughters, you can race in holiness with your siblings, and your friends.  Many of you got married through and in Thiếu Nhi Thánh Thể. Blessed Luigi and Maria remind you of how to live as a TNTT family. Eucharist must be the source of your family life; the rosary must be a time to gather and to share your struggles and joys for one another. Living like that, you follow the model of the Holy Family where Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus gave love to one another without any reservation. Christmas is not simply to decorate a Christmas tree, go to church but nothing changes in your heart, but it is the feast reminding you how to love, to give, and to sacrifice for one another.

Through the intercession of Blessed Luigi and Maria, Baby Jesus gives us strength to give oneself to one another, not material gifts, but a gift from the bottom of our heart. Amen.

Br. Huynhquảng


[1] Summarized from 39 New Saints by Brian O’Neel (Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2010), 131-34.

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