The Common Work of Marriage and the Faith
Devotional Discussion Thought of the Day:
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT)
346 Loyalty demands a real hunger for formation, because you are moved by a sincere love and you do not wish to run the risk of spreading or defending, through ignorance, principles or attitudes which are very far from being in accordance with the Truth. (1)
In a few hours, I will be officiating at the wedding of a cute couple, both incredibly passionate about each other. It will be fun, as was most of the pre-marital counseling I subjected them to undergo.
Some may think such a day is the best day of their lives. My prayer is that this is just the beginning of a relationship that will know much joy, much peace, even as they will undoubtedly have trying days. They might have a fight or two, they will definitely misunderstand each other, and the very passion that can result in incredible tenderness, incredible hunger for the other (in every way including sexually!) , can also turn on a dime and be focused on betrayal, or a perception that they are betrayed. For passion, and words, are meant for us to use positively,
It is not unlike our relationship with God. We should be passionate in our relationship with God, but I have often seen such passion turned against God when God doesn’t deliver what we think should be delivered. In btoh our relationship with our spouses, and our relationship with God, our sense of self-preservation and selfishness can misinterpret the One (or the one) we love.
This is when we need to realize that a major component of love is loyalty. Both the Hebrew cHesed and the Greek agape see loyalty, dedication to the “other” as the true nature of love. To desire and use everything that the one has to achieve what is best in the relationship.
Escriva is right, and it is applicable in our intimate relationship with God and our intimate relationship with our spouse. Formation is key, because it is there when we encounter love at its most incredible level. It is revealed to us, this love that sustains us, that empowers us, that purifies us. It is as we get to know the other (whether God or our spouse) that the relationship takes on such value that we would never want to risk damaging it. When such damage does occur, we need to grow to where we run to see it healed.
That is what formation does, it trains us, it helps us grow, it brings healing with it, for growth can’t occur if we are damaged beyond our ability to even seek healing. Formation is encountering mercy at its sweetest, at the moment it is unexpected.
For then it is revealed to be love.
Such love draws us to God, such love will bring a couple through anything that could occur.
I pray we all find those who will encourage and guide our formation with God, and for those who are married, I pray that your being formed with God provides the strength to really set aside your own needs, to meet the other’s needs.
Lord, in your great love, have mercy upon us.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria, The Furrow