Sunday, April 12, 2015

Divine Mercy in Marriage

With the precious time I had yesterday afternoon, which fell between completing Saturday chores and suppertime, in addition to composing two posts for Divine Mercy Sunday, I read two chapters of a manuscript of a marriage book. The authors of the book, about which I am very excited, will remain anonymous for now (more to come, I sincerely hope). I read and provided feedback on the two chapters I was asked review the previous week and so I am reading the rest of the manuscript because I really liked what I read.

It was shortly after finishing reading the additional two chapters that I composed "Divine Mercy Sunday: Jesus, I trust in You." While typing this rather spontaneous post I found myself writing, "Why was this gift [the Sacrament of Penance] His first gift to His Bride after His rising from the dead?" It was then that I experienced a moment of convergence, or, more precisely for me, a moment of conviction. In the sentence immediately preceding the one above, I wrote: "Of course, it's important not to lose sight of the fact that all of the sacraments are outpourings of Divine Mercy."

What converged for me and convicted me was this thought: "If I believe what I wrote about all the sacraments being outpourings of Divine Mercy, then this is true of Matrimony." It is a cliché, at least among Christians, that, in order to last a lifetime, marriage requires a lot of mercy, a lot of forgiveness. Stated that way it sounds so easy. If you're anything like me, you require much mercy, that is, much forgiveness. Nonetheless, I am often quite hard-hearted when it comes to being merciful and forgiving, choosing instead to be demanding and sometimes reveling in having something to be indignant about. In a passage not directed specifically at married couples, but often chosen as a reading for weddings, St Paul wrote that love "is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth" (1 Cor 13:5-6). What is "the truth" with which we are to rejoice if not the Divine Mercy us by God in Christ?

So, husbands, prospective husbands, make the first gift you give to your bride mercy- generous, un-hesitating, full-hearted, non-aggrieved, non-grudge-holding forgiveness. Of course, such a gift can only come from grace, the grace you have received, not from your wife, but from your crucified and risen Lord. Showing true mercy constitutes much of what makes your marriage a sacrament, that is, a visible and tangible sign of Christ's presence in and for the world, a symbol of Jesus' love for His Bride, the Church. In other words, live this: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her" (Eph 5:25).

Jesus, I trust in You.

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