Marriage by God’s Standard

The Gospel today (Matthew 19:3-12) helps us to consider anew marriage as intended by God. The reading today begins with the Pharisees asking Jesus a question regarding marriage and divorce, to which Jesus responds:

Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.

“What God has joined together, man must not separate.”

When a man and a woman are joined in Holy Matrimony, by their union they are changed forever, ‘the two shall become one flesh,’ to the point that separation causes harm to those joined together:

In this clip, Caleb is telling his friend Michael how his marriage is finished, to which Michael uses salt and pepper shakers to demonstrate a part of marriage often overlooked today – the EFFECT of matrimony.

To many (like Caleb), marriage is an act that takes place between the man and the woman, but what many don’t realize, the marriage act has an lasting effect, a marriage bond, by which “the spouses mutually give and receive one another (and that union) is sealed by God himself” (CCC #1639).  What God has joined together, let no one separate.

The Pharisees were not satisfied, however, and questioned further as to why Moses commanded that a man may divorce his wife? Jesus simply responds, “Because of the hardness of your hearts.”

Hardness of heart is a heart closed to love. Our society often equates ‘love’ with an emotion or feeling, and has forgotten the deeper, more accurate compass – that of commitment – by which to gauge ones relationship. This is important in any relationship, but especially in spousal relationships.

Our feelings can betray us, and when the ‘feeling’ is gone, we seek to fill that void of emotion with something outside of our commitment (or covenant). May we learn from the One who is always faithful how to become persons of love. The Scriptures use the wedding banquet as a symbol of God’s love for us. Let us then, study His commitment, and pray, that in our own choosing to love, may the doors open to life-lasting relationships, and yes, love by God’s standard.




We Embrace the Cross

Coming back from the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, my mind has etched in its memory one elderly couple that came forward to reverence the life-sized cross. The wife in her wheelchair, her husband pushing her towards the sanctuary. She tenderly grasped the cross in her hands and gingerly kissed the wood. Her husband struggled to get on his knees before he too, reverently kissed the wood of the cross. It was a tender moment. Both of them individually thanking the Lord of Life, and as a couple, they were witnessing the key to their long marriage – Jesus.

As the elderly husband struggled to his feet, and pushing his wife’s wheelchair, my eyes were moist with tears, as though I have walked in on a intimate moment. Yet, it is such moments that the Church is built up.

Who do We Give our Hearts To?

A new friend of mine from the Newman Catholic Center at Cal Poly University shared with me a little story that I thought is a good lesson for all of us:

Ever since she was a young girl, she knew she would one day meet the right man and marry. She spent her time and energy waiting for that day, looking for the right man, and eventually, joyfully finding him.

Then, all of her attention went into the planning for the wedding, to mark the first day of their lives together as special. Invitations were sent out, guests arrived to the beautifully decorated church, and the bride, with her heart fluttering in excitement, was almost ready.

The maid of honor helped her into her exquisite dress. The bride was radiant, her joy was mirrored back to her when she took one last look in the mirror before making her way to meet her soon-to-be husband. Only….

There, in the corner of the bridal suite, in the shadows, sat Jesus weeping. The bride’s heart was full, and had no room left for Him.


Many may think this is a story to encourage one to think again about giving themselves totally to Jesus through becoming a religious sister, brother, or priest.

But in truth, the moral of the story is so much more.

We do this to Jesus, shut him out of our lives, every time we fill our hearts with other desires before first making our hearts the home for our King. Was the young woman wrong to desire to find a worthy spouse? Of course not. No more wrong as for one to dive head first into a calling as a religious or priest. BUT for either vocation to be successful in its entirety, the spiritual home must first be nourished with the Divine love that makes us whole in both body and spirit; the in-dwelling of the Holy Trinity.

It is in this wholeness, that we are equipped to give ourselves fully to another. It is only then, the bride who runs to meet her bridegroom will be found carrying more than her beauty to the union; she will be bringing the gift of God himself.

Reel Love Video Challenge

What makes lifelong love possible?

Why is it worth the effort?

These are the questions Reel Love Video Challenge is asking in their first annual video contest, sponsored by The Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund.

The contest rules are simple:

– young adults, aged 18-30, married or single, male or female, in college, out of college, or never been anywhere near a college

– submit 30 second to 3 minute videos on the Reel Love Challenge website answering either or both of these questions: What makes lifelong love possible? Why is it worth the effort?

videos must be received by February 1, 2011.

The rules page leave it pretty open to the creativity of the participants: “You can interview your parents or grandparents, or give your own ideas. The videos can be professional looking, or just done with a cell phone camera. We are more interested in content, thoughts, and ideas, than Hollywood production quality.”

This contest emphasizes, the young people of today are the ones that will shape the landscape of marriage in the future:

“Marriage will be what your generation makes it. Divorce, adultery, even incest are all over the news. I urge all emerging adults to take matters into their own hands and begin to create a culture of fidelity and love.”

So now is your chance, you young twenty-somethings! The shaping of tomorrow’s culture on marriage is up to you. Have your say! For full contest details, go here.


Video contest asks young people to speak about lifelong love (EWTN)

Love is…