Friday, May 24, 2013

"Marital love is a reflection of how God loves. It is free, total, faithful and fruitful."

The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family. The family is placed at the center of the great struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between love and all that is opposed to love. – Pope John Paul II

(Gospel text: MK 10:1-12 )
Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

Today’s reading from Mass was about marriage, Catholic marriage to be exact. Being that I am getting married soon, this reflection is rather personal, but no less important for others to read and meditate upon. At least I think so anyway……………………………

In preparing for marriage this September, I imagine hearing from the guests at the wedding: “This is your special day.”

But I disagree! “It is not “my” day.” This September 8th, my future wife Sabryna and I have come to stop thinking about ourselves and begin to start to think of others!

Marriage like Holy Orders is one of the sacraments of service. The Catechism tells us that these sacraments are not for ourselves, but “are directed towards the salvation of others…They confer a special mission in the Church….”

What is the mission of marriage? The Church has always spoken of marriage as having two purposes – the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.

The sacrament exists for the salvation of others and the first person you need to save is the one beside you. Husband and wife must care for each other in many ways: pooling finances, make meals for each other, clean the house together, caring for each other when they are sick, and listening to one another when they are frustrated or lonely. But ultimately the most important thing we must do for one another is to care for each others souls. If we use terms like the “good” of the spouses – the greatest good is that we are saved, that we go to heaven. It is our mission to help each other get to heaven.

We must pray for one another; Pray the Rosary with each other; Go to Mass together as a family; Go to Eucharistic Adoration together; Go to confession even if the other procrastinates or is distracted; Set a good example for each other, reminding each other of Gospel values and the commandments; Correct one another with gentleness and humility; Encourage each other to strive farther in overcoming selfishness; and living our lives in love for others.

Trying to get each other into heaven probably seems like a full time task in and of itself. However, this is not the only mission the Church gives us – the second mission we receive on our wedding day is the procreation and education of children.

We pray today that God will bless our marriage with children.

Today people think of having children as an entirely personal affair. But there are very few decisions that we will make that will have the same impact on the world around us. Each of us is here because of the generosity and dedication of our parents. Each new child that comes into our world is another member of society who we need to care for when they are sick or poor or in need – but more importantly they are another person to contribute to the good of society. To be one more helping hand to those who are poor, or sick, or in need. Society depends upon members to thrive – and the Church depends upon its members to thrive. We speak of a vocations crisis – where are priests and religious to come from if not from Catholic families? We complain about the lack of good Catholic politicians, doctors, or businesspeople – where are they going to come from – from generous Catholic families.

The Catholic family’s job is not merely to “make babies” it is to form saints. Catholic couples are given the task of helping their children to know and love God – to pray, to share, to sacrifice, do penance, forgive. We must help them approach the sacraments with faith – to come to confession, to pray to Jesus after Holy Communion. We must help them to discover their vocation in life.

These tasks may seem intimidating – but God called us to this great mission. He has promised to give us the graces we need to live our vocation to the fullness.

So this September 8th, our wedding day is not “our day” – It is a day to dedicate our lives to others – to my spouse; to the children we pray God will send us – to the Church.

But it would be unfair to say that marriage does not contribute to your own happiness, our own salvation. The gospel teaches us that “it is in losing ones life that one finds it”. By giving yourself generously in the task the Church gives to each and every one of us, we will find abundant happiness – today, tomorrow and for eternity.

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