Sin ~ What harm is it?

We all do it. No one likes to talk about it. When is the last time you did something and the word sin came to mind? If you are a parent, when is the last time you talked about sin to your children? When is that last time you called a spouse or child on sin? Hmm. This is what family should do, with love.

If you read back through my posts you will see times that I have questioned whether my own behavior was sinful. Not long ago, I found myself questioning whether I had sinned, in not trusting God enough to stay by my side in a place I know He led me. I reacted to a dear one’s obvious frustration, though they did not tell me what I did wrong, I think I figured it out today. There is something to be said for communication skills and it does not matter who you are – use your words.

Though I am a practicing Catholic I am going to try to look at sin today in with a wider, perhaps different view. God, being the loving father has provided us with information to help us be the best people that we can be. That is what a parent does, right?

We reference points in the Bible that have to be considered, and, they should be considered every day, not only during Lent. Make it a habit – it is something I learned growing up and though my childhood was a mix of Christian churches – I knew all about fire & brimstone and if I swore – I was going to go to hell. (Thankfully I learned that isn’t quite the case “but”).

We have the Ten Commandments
Protestant V. Catholic

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I know – why can’t we all just get along. Remember, we’re just looking at guidelines right now.

The Greatest Commandments

Right from Jesus!

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What about the Seven Deadly Sins?

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**Note** These are sins when they are intentional and you have full knowledge of. Being human, we need to understand these sins, why they are sinful – but that being human we all fall to them at times. I don’t think there is a human alive who has not had lustful thoughts (yes, women can be as guilty as men, why do you think we have movies like Magic Mike or 50 Shades of Gray?). Gluttony is not spoken of but there are many of us out there they fall to over eating (or under eating), Greed, Laziness, Wrath or Envy. Pride.

  • Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Practice – Self-control/Chastity.
  • Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21). Practice – Temperance.
  • Greed – excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19). PracticeGenerosity.
  • Laziness – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19). PracticeZeal.
  • Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1) Practice Kindness.
  • Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2). PracticeLove & Charity.
  • Pride – quality or state of being proud – inordinate self esteem: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Practice – Humility.

Rather than look at a long laundry list, let’s take a  look at this. As a Christian mother, I will make reference in teaching our children and advising them. Remember, even as adults we should remind them of anything that may put a wedge between themselves and God. Remember though you cannot control your Adult Children, you can pray for them. Don’t “nag” as that will push them away, talk to them lovingly, as you would want to be spoken to.

As Christians we know;

God is always to be first in our lives. Too often people have not been told this, forget this or get slack. In order for Christians to have a solid foundation we need to focus and turn our heart, mind and soul over to our Lord, God. Before anyone else. All of us. It is our responsibility to teach this to our children as well as teaching others when we spread the word of God. It is the responsibility of a man and woman in a relationship to bring each other closer to God in this, they become one with God. Remember to teach this to your children. Remember to honor God, study the Bible, attend Church, grow in your spirituality.

Love your Neighbor as yourself. We can squeeze parents, neighbors, co-workers, employees, employers, kid at the gas station – all other human beings. Treat everyone with love, respect and a kind ear. Thou Shall Not Murder. Thou Shall not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor. Remember the Golden Rule? “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You” Mathew 7:12. How about “Judge Not Least Ye Be Judged” Mathew 7:1

You shall not commit Adultery • Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbors Wife

Greed • Thou Shall Not Covet They Neighbors Goods • Gluttony • Envy • Pride

Laziness – Ignoring or being lazy in your Spiritual life.

Okay, thanks for the reminder – now what?

Well, the truth is this; When we are not cognizant of our actions, we can hurt ourselves and others. Doing this, especially knowingly, puts a distance between ourselves, God and whomever else we may have touched (figuratively or literally). When we knowingly and willingly commit sin and bring others too it – that wedge between self, others we have affected and God is bigger. Our responsibility as Christians is to bring others to God, most especially those we love.

We should remember to ask God, when we pray to help us be mindful of our actions and caution that they are wholesome and good. This sounds great and easy in theory, but, we are human and in our humanness – we sin. In our humanness we get caught up in sin, which is why we need to reflect on this.

A few things to keep in mind and consider is this; Greed can be as “innocent” as taking that last scoop of potato’s before your brother, who is in the bathroom, gets his dinner plate – to not paying your employee a fair wage. Laziness? Stay active in your spiritual life.

In the past I have  discussed both our chosen attire, taking care of our body (healthy) and how our appearance matters because it reflects both our sense of self and – our modesty (or lack thereof). No saint here, I remember wearing sundresses and tops sans a bra when I was a teenager, not good. It’s important to look nice, neat and respectful. While we do want to look attractive, our focus should not be on drawing people to us by looking sexy. Save that for your spouse.

Consider the movies you choose to watch, books you read. If they contain erotica, think twice. We’re really not supposed to be entertaining ourselves or others with things that can lead to sinful thoughts or behavior. This means no 50 Shades of Gray ladies, and men – no surfing for porn (or vise versa). In married relationships the goal is celebrating your love – making love, which as you deal with childbirth, an illness, medical condition or aging may mean learning new techniques or enjoying some warm cuddles and kisses. These loving actions will not be happening if you are off ogling a woman 1/2 the age of your wife, with a flat tummy and double D boobs. Same goes for the women, no Magic Mike – celebrate your love and your bodies in your marriage, you have been given a very special gift.

Life is not about the size of our home, model of our car or bank account. It does not matter what profession you have chosen, single, married, divorced. God loves each and everyone of us. Realize, looking at each other – we have the divine love of the Holy Spirit within us. When we sin, we sin against God. We hurt God, ourselves and others. Celebrate that divine love by spending time in prayer and reflection – and make a conscious effort to take a personal inventory, a written or mental check list of what sins.

In addition to realizing we have or have come close to sin – it is important to examine why we were/are in that place. What is going on with us internally that has brought us to that place. If it is not readily apparent, pray to God and ask for him to reveal to you what brought about this state. Remember to ask him to fill the void you may be feeling in your life, some self confidence on the job, insight into an issue with your spouse, or a human relationship that you long for. If we don’t ask – we don’t receive. Be positive and put your trust in God, while you’re waiting, serve him which includes working hard to be a good person. Be prepared to find an answer that may surprise you – be open to His love. God wants us to feel loved and happy, He is a good Father.

Something I’ll share is I do have a couple of people in my life involved in recovery and being familiar with Twelve Step Programs I realize these steps may help others in reflection of behaviors, admitting sin, asking others for forgiveness when possible or appropriate and remembering to turn our lives over to God.

Catholics are taught the Sacrament of Reconciliation where we are to go confess our sins to a Priest who will forgive (most of) our sins for us. Many find this to be a useful way to find forgiveness and feel at peace with God. Not everyone is Catholic, and even not all Catholics believe in this manner of confessing and asking for forgiveness. If you are Catholic and have not made confession in recent times, please take a few moments to check out the above link and consider speaking to your Priest (not only for confession but for any questions you may have about it).

I do spend time reflecting my thoughts, actions and words. I understand that my choices can and do impact others. I do ask my Father to forgive me from the bottom of my heart the sins I have committed. I also believe it is more important to sincerely apologize to who I may have hurt (aside from myself) and ask their forgiveness when I can, I think that is far more important than sitting in confession doing so and it is actually much harder. Perhaps a mix of both is a good idea. It is a good idea if someone close to you has brought you to a difficult spot, to share that with them so that they can do their best in protecting you from sin. Good communication skills are essential, though there may be times that it may be difficult – do the best you can.

love

Our responsibility is to live up to being the best human being that we can be. God recognizes that we are human. Too often, bad people forget what sin is. Alternately, often very good people forget that we are all God’s children, children – growing in God. He loves us so very much. After bringing your sin to lay at the cross, receiving forgiveness, be sure you allow that forgiveness from our loving father to flood your soul and allow the light within to burn brightly touching everyone in your reach.satanseesin-godseeson

~~2/24/16 Edit to add:

Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church from the Vatican Website – linked below.

1466 The confessor (The Priest) …..He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord’s mercy.”

I don’t remember ever hearing this before. This is Catholic Teaching. Though I grasp the idea of how confession is good for the soul and our relationship with God – I would never put my sin on a Priest and I don’t care if they “willingly” took that on.

There are different schools of thought on Confession and surely many are still going to heaven who do not go to confession (or heaven will be pretty empty – right?).

This is really not what God is about. It is good and very healthy to know ourselves, understand our sins and move forward earnestly endeavoring to do better. Some things we really must work through internally with God, and that is not wrong as long as we are doing it. Confiding in a close friend or family member who you know and trust to keep you on track – is good and can be very healthy.

This also reminds me of more current essay I have written (as I update this one). In two of them I had posted this from a daily bible reading for the Divine Office:


Mid-morning reading

1 Timothy 2:4-6

God our saviour wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time.


I cross post / am still waiting for someone to tell me how this is considered okay when it is not biblical, and the more I look at the history of sacraments, the more apparent it is that these have been changed, added to – manipulated (?) over centuries. Why? Confusing.

We are human, no matter what sacraments we have received, a Priest standing next to me is as human as I am I am responsible for my owns sins and I know for a fact I do penance for them, it is not for me to hand them off to someone else. Goodness Gracious

Where do these idea’s come from?

Not God!

We must be personally accountable!!!


Reflecting on the story of the woman in the book of Luke, I think we have to look at this story and consider how many of us have torn ourselves up inside for sins we have committed in our lives. Often carrying that guilt forward into life today. Jesus said – no, that is not for you to carry. You are forgiven.

I also would suggest that we often look at the “sin” and not the “sinner” – who they are, why they have “committed sin”, where they were at when doing so. What brought them to that place? There are personal reasons I believed God was punishing me in the abusive marriage I lived in – for twenty years. I had guilt that in truth no one but God himself could alleviate me of. No friends, or priest – only God himself. In retrospect, I look back to life growing up, events that happened and I can see why I behaved the way I did. My heart breaks for that young girl.

Our Lord, God does not want anyone to feel so sinful, dirty, unworthy of his love. It is not for us to judge others, but to truly look upon others with love and compassion and an attempt of understanding. Never tearing people apart or making them feel such shame that they become further self destructive.

0fb1a326f3a71e1e776822166d89dde0Originally Published 2016

Light of the World

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Cannon Law -Roman Catholic

“Can. 940 A special lamp which indicates and honors the presence of Christ is to shine continuously before a tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved.”

Over the years, I have spent many hours before the tabernacle in prayer. Raising three boys along with other household issues, it was difficult at times to find a peaceful area to commune with God.

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I took this photo one evening of a winter passed.   During a trying time in which I found it difficult to find the connection I sought with the Holy Spirit. Extra house guests, youngest son, his young lady and Ella my gran-pup were staying with us and my apartment was bustling with activity.

While the room was in darkness, save for the light by the tabernacle, the love and light of our triune God filled my heart and soul.

Published 2016- As I republish this tonight, I recognize, with sadness that a lamp being light inside a church is an actual church law… For a church that is loosing it’s members.  Tradition, Law, rules – over God.  In a way, if you see what I mean.  The simplicity of what Jesus taught in the Gospels – gone.  My class of eighth graders tonight who don’t really know who or what God is, how could they even have a prayer life? 

Wait, Isn’t God Everywhere?

I have been a practicing Roman Catholic for almost twenty-nine years.  Raised as a Protestant Christian and converting to the Roman Catholic religion in my mid-twenties.  I had little Catechism given at that time.

I have raised my sons in the church, taught several years of CCD/Faith Formation, volunteered and currently I have been attending Mass in the morning before going to work.   I love to go to Church.  Over the years, I have spent hours there alone in prayer with our triune God.

I had a Catholic friend, years ago, tell me I should say I am “going to Mass”, not I am “going to church”.  I didn’t get what he meant.  Today I do.  When I enter the church for services, it is for Mass.  Even on Good Friday, when no Mass is celebrated it is called “Mass of the Presanctified” as the host was consecrated on Holy Thursday.

My focus has always been on the readings and more so the homily.  I realize now that is due my Protestant upbringing.  As a child/young person, I went to church to study the bible and pray.  As an adult Catholic, I attend Mass and read the bible readings, listen to the homily but I also partake in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

His question. . .

A few weeks ago, I read an article written by a Pastor.  The following is a clip of that article:  “why is it so difficult to believe that same presence in the Eucharist we celebrate so frequently? Is it that farfetched to think that God can take simple elements of bread and wine and transform them, wholly and completely, into the Body and Blood of Christ?”

Talk about an “aha” moment.  What have I been missing?  What is the link?  I am a person who puts great faith in the power of prayer.  I pray often (several times a day though to see me you may not even know it).  First thing in the morning before I ever get out of bed, driving to work, at work, at my desk.  Prayer can be anywhere and anytime.  The more often we make a conscious action to move closer to God, the easier you will find it to be.  The particular passage above really caught my attention.  I began chatting to God about this and listening for answers.  I also began to question more people.

My turn to ask . . .

A very large majority of my friends were raised Roman Catholic.  Many have left the church for a variety of reasons.  I keep a short list of friends on Facebook.  Under 60 and all but two are people I know in “real life”.  One is a friend of several friends and advertises his wares (harmless), the other is a young Catholic Mom I “met” on a Christian woman’s Facebook page.  We chatted a few times and she asked if we could “be friends”.  Indeed.  She has been a real asset in my quest to learn more about my religion.  I digress.  A little off topic there but not too far.  I decided to pose the question on my Facebook wall and see who would respond.  I was truthfully very surprised at the response (more than 10 people responded, some directly on my wall, some via private message).

Serious question. Reading something this afternoon . . .and I know the answer to this in my own heart and soul – but am really interested in hearing what others think. Please feel free to inbox me your reply.

Roman Catholics are taught that the Eucharist is the very body and blood of Jesus Christ, this is something that historically dates back just a thousand years or so (transubstantiation). We are taught that the very real presence of Jesus Christ becomes present in the Eucharist at Mass. Thoughts on this?

In box is open. I am not tagging anyone but will in-box some for your thoughts. Indulge me if you will. Feel free to post your reply here also – it’s up to you. Thanks”

I greatly appreciate the response that I had.  It pushed me further in my own reflection and belief.  I know I also surprised myself with my own answers.  More on my own beliefs a bit later. . .

The response varied . . .

“yes, i believe it. although it has occurred to me often that our entire religion is based on cannibalism. Hmm”

“but I always took it symbolically & spiritual rather than actually “physical.”

“Don’t you believe this is all figurative?”

“I prefer to think of the Church’s teaching that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are everywhere all the time. Good question — thanks for putting it out there “

“One friend responded that when  a child they believed it however as an adult no longer does,”

“I do believe communion said In The Name of Jesus according to The Word is the same in any church.”

“No, I don’t believe it is really Jesus.”

“NO!  What do you mean the blood of Christ?”

“One of my in real life responses was pursed lips, raised eyebrows and a slight shake of the head to signify “no”.

 Where is the disconnect?

For just around one thousand years the Eucharist has been presented the way it is today.  There was a time in history where it was very simple, even in the Roman Catholic Church.  The breaking of the bread and drinking of the wine was stated as such and “take this in memory of me.”.  I am not going to dive into more detail on the history of this sacrament today and I will only briefly touch upon the Sacrament of Holy Orders today.  I am following along on the path set before me and there is a lot of information and a lot of facts/details on the sacraments.  It is however important to take at least a very abbreviated look at Holy Orders.

Only men baptized men can receive this sacrament.  There are a lot of details and requirements surrounding this sacrament and in truth I am not completely sure how I feel about this but that is not on the table for discussion today.  The very truth is this; When a man has met all the criteria, studies, age, and they become ordained Priests the church teaches that the “grace of the sacrament imprints an indelible character on the soul of the recipient and configures him to Christ”.   This can be more than a little confusing when one considers we are also taught that those Baptized and Confirmed also receive the sacramental character is an indelible spiritual.

Per teaching I reference the Catechism of the Catholic Church” The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental or “seal” by which the Christian shares in Christ’s priesthood and is made a member of the Church per different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible, it remains forever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore, these sacraments can never be repeated. ”  

We are taught that each marking is weighed differently.  Each “level” of Holy Orders receives a new or higher level marking.  This teaching does not go back to the simple teachings of Christ; however, it has been taught for hundreds of years, dating back to writings of Augustine of Hippo.

Once Baptized a Catholic you will by Baptism always be considered a Catholic and no other Baptism would be recognized.  Once Confirmed a Catholic, you will have always been confirmed as such and there would be no second confirmation.  Once ordained a Priest in the Catholic church that never becomes invalid, even should a Priest choose to leave for any number of personal reasons which may include a breaking away from teachings of the church or marriage.

Not fully on the table for discussion here but important to mention as this is in relation to the Eucharist which is the topic at hand.  A Priest who leaves the service of the church, either by choice or suspension, even if laicized (per  http://canonlawmadeeasy.com/about/  -simply put released from clerical duties and permissions to represent oneself as Priest).   In this case the only sacrament a man is “allowed” and required to perform would be to hear the confession of a dying person.   The instructions given to a laicized Priest is they are prohibited from exercising holy orders.

I would question or argue the point (being the apparent Cafeteria girl) that being told to not bless anyone or preach to be rather confusing because it is my understanding that all Catholics can Bless and Preach (not at Mass), and in reading about Baptism – anyone, even a non-Christian can perform a valid Baptism.  I will also note perhaps most pertinent to this article, that a laicized Priest will be told they are not to celebrate Mass can still do and it will remain valid “but” it is considered illicit as it is without the permission of ecclesiastical superiors.

Further reading tells me something that I believe to be true and that a Priest belongs to Jesus Christ/God/Holy Spirit and that is who he truly answers to.  Priests have and do leave the church, it is a difficult decision for most and how they chose to deal with or balance their life as an active Priest with that of a laicized Priest varies and is not on the table for discussion here.  I am sharing this information because I believe it to be pertinent to the discussion of the Holy Eucharist – the body & blood of Christ and why it is taught that only a Priest can prepare and consecrate the Eucharist.  That relationship with Christ does not change no matter the circumstance.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

This is one of three sacraments of initiation in the church.  The other two are Baptism and Confirmation.  Church teaching is that Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper.  This is a sacramental sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise.  “In the sacrifice of the Eucharist, through the death and resurrection of Christ presents all of creation to the Father as an offering of praise and thanksgiving.  The church gives thanks to God in the Eucharist for all the blessings God has accomplished in his works of creation, redemption and sanctification.”  “of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead; the Eucharist makes present again the sacrifice of the cross in an unbloody manner.”

I would urge anyone with a sincere desire, to read and learn more detail about the Eucharist.  The quotes in the above paragraph are taken from “outlines of the Catholic Faith Teachings, Beliefs, Practices and Prayers”  https://www.leafletonline.com/outlines-of-the-catholic-faith something in truth I left gathering dust for a little too long.

Church teachings are that the Priest by ordination is acting as Christ, having received the indelible spiritual mark.  In truth, I think these words come across too simply and find myself struggling to impart the deep spiritual connection I believe the Priest has standing at the alter with our Lord God.  It is through the actions of the Priest that the bread and wine become the true body and blood of Jesus.

“This is my Body. This is my Blood. God tells us, at every Eucharist, I am real! I am here! I am no less than I have been in the past, am here today and will be in the future! This is my Body, which is broken for YOU. This is my Blood, which is shed for YOU. Do we think so little of ourselves that we cannot believe that God can and does come to us in this way?”

I have an incredibly beautiful personal relationship with God.  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  I live an everyday life but my life is filled with keeping Christ close to my heart, mind and soul.  I share my love of God with people throughout the day, be it a counter server asking me for the name I would like them to put on that $1.00 donation tag (God), or sitting in my office with one of the bank Vice Presidents for small business.  In a way, I eat, sleep and breath Jesus – and I have taken no vows or promises to a religious order or diocese.

Sitting here I can say I do believe that the celebrating the Eucharist is a holy and sacred event.  Knowing the devotion, a Priest has to Jesus there is no reason really for me to not to believe that a miracle transpires before our eyes during Mass and that when we receive, that we do receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ as explained and taught by the Roman Catholic Church.

What do I think of other religions breaking bread and offering communion in the name of Jesus Christ?  I think that this is something very difficult to compare, if you really can.  It is a bit of apples and oranges.  In church’s other than Roman Catholic they break bread and drink wine “in memory of me”.  They too are honoring what is taught in the Bible at the Last Supper.  This is simple and pure teachings of Christ before his death on the cross and before the church became “the church”.

The presence of Jesus.

Now, here is where I get more than a tad bit stuck.  We Catholics are taught that receiving the body and blood of Christ brings us closer to God.  How do I reconcile this with knowing God is with me and in me every day – Mass or not?  My own background is Protestant – though converted I own every bit of that relationship that I have with God on my childhood education of Him.  My darkest days have been after I converted to the Roman Catholic religion, at times I was feelings quite lost and alone (though I know now He was always with me).  I am no more holy today than I will be tomorrow if I miss the morning mass, am I?  If Christ is already present within me?  So, this is where I get hung up.

In truth, I accept the miracle of the Eucharist.  I believe the miracle that changes the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

“but”

I cannot say today that I truly believe this brings me closer to God.  I also wonder at those good Catholics who live in areas where they are unable to receive communion regularly or the elderly who don’t get out or I suppose anyone in general unable to receive this sacrament physically. I am sure there are cases where this happens and there are people that are holy and living good and moral lives in the name of God who do not receive the body and blood regularly – just as there are those who receive regularly as rote behavior or who, like many mentioned above, receive but do not believe this is the body and blood of Christ.  All thoughts worthy of further examination and consideration I am sure.

Myself?  I will continue to attend Mass and celebrate the Eucharist.  I am glad I came across that short article posing these questions as it gave me pause to reflect and learn more.  I will continue my quest to further deepen my faith, and honor God.  I own my life to Him.

*Note:  This essay is the first essay I posted to my blog when I began last year.  It seems suitable, as I redesign and edit my blog to post this today – the last day of this year.

 

 

Wives Submit to your husbands…

The first time I heard this. . . I winced.  “Say what?”  I was young and thought that meant giving up freedom of self, being controlled, no longer being “Laurie”, which – oddly enough is exactly what happened in my marriage to the father of my boys.  This is not what the bible is teaching us, not at all.

Marriage is about a union of two human beings who make the promise to love each other for the rest of their lives.   Recommitting daily.  From this mornings (10/25/16) first reading (this was also the first reading back in June) copied and pasted as in my usccb bible reading email.slide_13

“Reading 1 Eph 5:21-33

Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the Church,
he himself the savior of the Body.
As the Church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the Church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the Church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the Church,
because we are members of his Body.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself,
and the wife should respect her husband.”

 

There are different explanations for “Falling in love”.  I read just today (for the hundredth time) that “love is not an emotion”.  I read a response to that statement that I thought was spot on.  For those that are lucky enough to first find themselves with that strong feeling of attraction and – love, we begin to give of self.  When that love is returned it does become an emotional joining of hearts and souls “but” it will not stay that way without work. Together we grow in love.

I think the level of work depends very much on the personalities of both people.  Some have a chemistry that just seems to work smoothly – most of the time.  Others?  You look at them and wonder (observing) why they became a couple to begin with.  Some have skills that help them more easily navigate the waters than others.  All – will find challenges they have to work through together. 

Unexpected things will pop up.  Great Aunt Hilda may hate (strong word, I know) your new wife which makes family get together really challenging.  Having babies and raising children will bring on challenges, as will who is going to keep an eye on grand baby 3 when grandpa volunteered, then wants to go play chess with an old friend.  You get the idea.  Little things come up, how you react to them and your ability to navigate through – together will make your marriage a happier loving union – or one that has more struggles to muddle through.  Together is what matters.  Keeping the commitment to each other, God and yourselves.

 I came across this chart tonight and appreciate the examples given.  Very, very important in marriage.  Marriage is a Covenant  is a relationship initiated by our loving God.19_chambers_chart_jn-1

Looking at this chart, meant for both husband and wife you see no “submission’ per say.  Marriage is not 50/50 – it is 100%/100% from both partners, then those times or days when one cannot put forth their full effort you work to stand strong for both.

Working together to ensure a continued religious and spiritual growth throughout your marriage that must come first. Raising a family, living in service to spouse, family and others, committing your love and support to each other every day, even those days you may not be happy with your spouse – and things you strive for, fall under the umbrella of God first.  Keeping your marriage “in God,  together” will help all other issues flow in an easier manner.  We are commanded to keep God first.

Now, a bit more on the above bible reading.  I think putting it simply,  a “successful” Christian marriage is learning the fine art of humbling yourself to the other.  Neither is “above” the other, both are God’s children.  A wife submits to her husband as to the Lord, the husband submits to the wife as Christ did to the church.  A loving husband in a Christian marriage knows his wife, discerning – keeping in prayer any serious matter he will consider his wife’s needs before his own as he knows she trusts him.  A wife will honor her husband as the lord in the same way.  A move our of state?  One person may really have to make that call if it depends on a job opportunity, if a woman has carefully discerned her relationship, engagement and marriage she needs to trust her husband will make the correct decision, with love.

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There is no room for abuse in a true marriage covenant.  Love between man and woman is a gift from God.  Marriage is an intimate union between equal partners.  Both man and woman have different gifts to offer in this union. Catholic teaching is that couples are open to children in their marriage, if unable to bear children or past child bearing age couples are still to find ways to nurture younger generations together.

I would like to share one more thing before closing this article.  Many of us may have read a saying at some point in our lives “a family that prays together, stays together”.  I have seen truths in this.  I have also come across websites for both  wives and husbands that offer Christian support in marriages.  Though feeling a bit on the outside, being a divorced woman (annulled), I follow a couple of Christian women’s pages on Facebook that I enjoy.  Not all things are directly marriage related but many are.  Including reminders to pray for your love, pray for spouse, pray yourself to be a good supportive partner, etc.  These are great idea’s and offer a helpful foundation of support to couples in their marriages.

As a survivor of domestic violence, having noted how many reads the original posting of this essay had – I would like to add the following to reiterate that a true Christian marriage is about mutual submission, true caring and love – never intentionally abusive.

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