7 October 2018
The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.’ So from the soil the Lord God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beasts. But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him. So the Lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. The Lord God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man exclaimed:
‘This at last is bone from my bones,
and flesh from my flesh!
This is to be called woman,
for this was taken from man.’
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.
We see in Jesus one who was for a short while made lower than the angels and is now crowned with glory and splendour because he submitted to death; by God’s grace he had to experience death for all mankind.
As it was his purpose to bring a great many of his sons into glory, it was appropriate that God, for whom everything exists and through whom everything exists, should make perfect, through suffering, the leader who would take them to their salvation. For the one who sanctifies, and the ones who are sanctified, are of the same stock; that is why he openly calls them brothers.
Some Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’ They were testing him. He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ ‘Moses allowed us’ they said ‘to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’ Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this, and he said to them, ‘The man who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.’
People were bringing little children to him, for him to touch them. The disciples turned them away, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ Then he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.
What God has united, man must not divide
From the very beginning, when He created Adam and Eve, God instituted and intended a union between a man and a woman, they are to become one in marriage. In fact, it is one of the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church and a fundamental building block of society.
Marriage is not just between two people, but a calling from God to enter into a mission, whether it is to grow spiritually together or bringing up children in the faith, it is a vocation nonetheless. Unfortunately, the current climate of marriage and divorce is very distressing. We have many friends, Christians and non-Christians alike, that are divorced or are in the process of separating. Divorce has become such an easy option and a normal occurrence that couples that remain married for a lengthy period are an oddity.
It is apparent that the institution of marriage is under attack, and the difficulties are a result of the fall of man. The ideals of married life are harder to enter into and require continued deepening of love and commitment. With sin, hurtful memories, stresses, distractions, misplaced passions and temptations bombarding us every day and in every way; it is more difficult and more challenging for married couples to live out the glorious vocation of love and unity that is marriage.
Like a garden that needs sunshine, water, and nutrients to thrive; a marriage requires love, compassion, forgiveness, understanding and commitment to thrive. Above all, it needs the Son. A marriage is not only between two people, it needs a third party – Jesus. With God at the apex and as the focus, not only will the marriage flourish, but the marital bond will only get stronger.A marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church he established; as Jesus is often referred to as the bridegroom and the church as His bride. With that in mind, how can we deny the sanctity of marriage?
In my years of marriage, there were two major crises and a myriad of minor conflicts that could have and would have ended my marriage. If it wasn’t by the grace of God, my husband and I would be divorced right now, our lives and the lives of our children will be deeply and forever affected. We are still in the healing process and rely on the Lord’s grace, mercy and strength to get us through difficult times. It is precisely during these trying times, that I turned to Jesus and Mother Mary in fervor. Prayers and more prayers to our Lord, petitions and more petitions for Mother Mary’s intercession, gave me a sense of peace and calm in the emotional storm. At first, the peace that came upon me was brief, and then the angst and anger would come back. But as the prayers and petitions continued, and as I deeply relied on our Lord for wisdom, Mother Mary for comfort, relying on the grace of God, for the strength and love that I lack, the peace I sought is now lasting longer and the wounds are starting to heal.
Like our spiritual life and the health of our soul, marriage requires constant tending, love and prayers. Even then, it doesn’t mean that it will be smooth sailing from here on. There will be mountains to climb and valleys to cross. Through it all,if we remain faithful to our covenant with God and with each other, marriages will stand the test of time, temptation and come what may. For man, it may be impossible, but for God, everything is possible.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Anonymous)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that You grant us the strength, wisdom and love to honor the covenant of marriage, and may we reflect the covenant between Jesus and His Church in every way.
Thanksgiving: Thank you,our Heavenly Father, forgiving us the Sacrament of marriage and teaching us to love as Christ loves.