Friday, August 16, 2013

“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”

“The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.” – Pope John Paul II

Gospel Text: (MT 19:3-12)
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying,
“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”
He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning
the Creator made them male and female and said,
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, man must not separate.”
They said to him, “Then why did Moses command
that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?”
He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife
(unless the marriage is unlawful)
and marries another commits adultery.”
His disciples said to him,
“If that is the case of a man with his wife,
it is better not to marry.”
He answered, “Not all can accept this word,
but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so;
some, because they were made so by others;
some, because they have renounced marriage
for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

The truth is, living any state of life as God intended is challenging. Circumstances change, and we scramble to adjust. In one way or another we all fail to live up to God’s ideal. We all fail God, our spouse or our religious community from time to time. This doesn’t mean we chose the wrong vocation. It simply means that we have momentarily forgotten how much we need to depend on God’s abundant grace. Fidelity in marriage or in the single life is only possible because God is faithful: faithful to guide us, faithful to sustain us, faithful to forgive us. To put it simply, we need His grace and in order to receive it fully, we have to open our hearts to it through prayer and the sacraments.

Look at the refrain for today’s Psalm at Mass: “His mercy endures forever.” God expresses it in many different ways at many different moments, but he is always faithful. His enduring mercy is the very thing we need in order to be faithful.

Spend some time today considering your vocation. Thank God for the call he has given you. Thank him, too, for being faithful to you as you strive to live out that call. Then ask him to show you one particular way to express your faithfulness today. Maybe it’s a little note of encouragement and love for your spouse. Maybe it’s a gesture of support to a brother priest or a sister religious who is going through a rough patch. Maybe God will show you something you are free to do because you haven’t arrived at a place of permanent commitment. Whatever it is, rejoice and do it!

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