Thursday, October 22, 2020

Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Lessons From the Life and Legacy of Blessed Karl

 From Blessed Karl of Austria:

His Imperial Royal Highness Imre von Habsburg-Lothringen, archduke of Austria, is the great-grandson of the last emperor and king of Austria-Hungary, Blessed Karl (1887-1922), and his wife, Servant of God Empress Zita (1892-1989). So how does it feel to have a Blessed in the family? 

“Holiness is unfortunately not hereditary!” replied Archduke Imre, speaking to the Register Oct. 15 from his home in Switzerland just a few days before the feast day of Blessed Karl (or Charles) on Oct. 21. “Many of us surely have holy ancestors, but some are indeed more well-known than others. That said, Karl and Zita have been an inspiration for me and a model to strive for in my marriage, trying to become a better husband and father.” 

Interestingly, Archduke Imre’s U.S.-born wife, Kathleen, had developed a devotion to Zita — whose cause for canonization is also underway — long before meeting her future husband. In fact, the young Kathleen had entrusted her future vocation to Zita, unaware that she would end up marrying Zita’s great-grandson. More providentially, Archduke Imre and Kathleen met and were married in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21, 2010, the feast day of the archduke’s great-grandfather. “Needless to say, Karl and Zita are still very active from above!” observed Imre. “They are an inspiration for our marriage.” 

Blessed Karl and Zita were an especially united couple. What does their witness have to say to the modern world? 

“Their marriage was their strength throughout all the difficulties they had to endure,” said Archduke Imre. “Shortly before their wedding, Blessed Karl said to Zita this striking phrase: ‘Now we need to help each other get to heaven.’ This shows that they understood that marriage is a vocation and a path to that holiness to which we are all called, despite our sins and weaknesses.”

He went on to explain how Karl and Zita gave themselves to each other totally, always trying to be “respectful to each other, to constantly look for the other’s interest, to be open to life, to pray together.” Prayer was key to the family life of this exceptional couple, he said. (Read more.)


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