Monday, May 30

marriage is what brings us together today

we drove 30 minutes to mass yesterday at a parish that we normally do not attend, to hear a priest who proclaims the truth with utter boldness and faith.

needless to say, i was quite disappointed when we got to mass late, missed the readings, and on top of it all, the priest i was so looking forward to hearing speak was not celebrating mass.

(an aside: this is one of my favorite parts of being catholic - despite my disappointment at not having a homily by one of my favorite priests, i still received the true body and blood of Jesus at this mass, which made it an awesome mass. i am grateful and consider this fact to be truly glorious - i am not dependent on having heard a terrific homily in order to have a sublime encounter with Christ at church. that experience lies one hundred percent in my receiving of the Eucharist. but, i have to admit, a great homily does accentuate the rest of the liturgy and can leave me quite motivated to become more holy).

that segues nicely into my main point: i was pleasantly surprised, in spite of my former disappointment, that this new priest himself preached a good homily that, in spite of my wrangling with my son thoughout its entirely, managed to hit home several lovely and thought-provoking points.

my favorite was this: he spoke a little about marriage and how it is one of the greatest examples on earth of how the Lord loves us. now, no marriage is perfect, and our lord can only love us perfectly. nonetheless, a marriage striving to mirror the love of the trinity can truly grant the couple an experience of heavenly love on earth.

every spouse experiences the frequent need to sacrifice for the good of their beloved. sometimes, it's easy, because you can either see the purpose for that sacrifice or you are able to draw some satisfaction or pleasure out of it. other times, the sacrifice can seem pointless - why on earth is my beloved asking this of me? i see no reason that i should do or not do this, just so that my spouse can be happy.

but that is love - letting go of your needs or expectations, so that your spouse can be happy or satisfied. it is forever putting someone else's best good before your own. this is what we enter into when we say, "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, i will honor and love you all the days of my life."
 this is how Jesus loves us: "greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. we may not be asked in our marriages to lay down our lives, but we do die to ourselves every day, sometimes every moment.

and the love becomes ever more fruitful, ever more faithful, ever more reflective of God's love, the more we imitate his agape in our marriages.

he blesses our unions and makes them holy. his sacramental grace floods husband and wife, and makes each willing sacrifice easier and more beneficial than the last. he transforms our hearts to resemble his.

only thus, can we truly love each other, when we love with Jesus' heart, a heart broken and poured out for us in the ultimate show of agape.

we should show this type of unconditional love towards every brother and sister in Christ. but he knows that we need to begin small, so he gave us our family, our husbands, our wives, our children. here, in the family, we learn to love. and then that love can flow out into the world and change it forever.

it begins with i do and ends in eternity.

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