Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lifting the Veil of Disillusionment;A Reflection on Marriage: C.C.

" If it had been left to the world to choose a husband for Mary, it would undoubtedly have chosen a rich and talented man. It would not have thought of choosing a virtuous man, a man who from childhood had lived reverently before God. That is not the way the world thinks. Self-interest and purely human considerations are the motivating forces behind most marriages. The possessions which chance bestows, rather than the blessings of grace, lead to the contracting of marriages. The result is the many marriages between ill-suited partners, each of whom is the other's torment.
God permits this to happen as an earthly punishment for those who do not consult Him on so important a matter, a matter that can have a deadly outcome if not guided by Him.
He permits it as a punishment for the youthful carelessness that makes men frail to match the protestation of virtue with its practice. The choice by Mary's parents, or rather by God, fell upon Joseph, a just man , in fact the most virtuous man then living on earth and the one most worthy to be the holy Virgin's husband.
No marriage ever turned out more happily;never were two hearts more delighted at their union. What trials could ever disturb their peace of soul! Mary and Joseph were in the state of life God wanted for them.
Many are dissatisfied with their state. They suffer a great deal from it and often make others suffer as well. And the reason is that they are in a state God did not want for them." (Alexander DeRouville)
  I have had some time to reflect upon the Sacrament of marriage. I have taken into prayer the importance of understanding the role of marriage in our world and in the eyes of our faith. The more that I encounter women in troubled marriages and witness the toil of my own divorced parents, I am awakened to the reality of how many may enter into marriage without consulting God. 
       It is in understanding the reality of a distanced relationship with the Lord that one can gain clarity in recognizing that the tribulation encountered by those without this essential 'ingredient',and Person fail to persevere and endure in 'good times and in bad, in sickness and in health'. 
   Sadly married before God does not mean that one has fully consented to being married in God and through Him.There must be a fostered relationship and participation with God's will in order to endure the trials that undoubtedly come with the vocation. In saying this, our Lord's compassion and mercy does exceed our understanding and it is often through His faithful providence that many experience and receive the grace to sustain them in hardship. 
     Marriage was ordained by God and so without Him it will not be as it was designed to be. The peace of the soul that was experienced by Our Lady and St. Joseph is one that can belong to each of us by rooting ourselves firmly in God's design and plan for us.
Divorce, while seemingly representative of a human severed relationship is truly a manifestation of the brokenness of a union to the Divine. So many are disillusioned and have held passions and self-sought desires as the most important aspect of a happy marriage; but, marriage is about holiness and sacrifice. It is about surrendering ourselves completely in service, not to the one before us but completely to the Lord within us . The natural consequence of such devotion results in great peace of the soul for both partners and a fruitful marriage in the Lord by serving one another through Christ.
     The other reality present in some marriages is arriving at the point of awareness where the partners seem to be 'ill-suited' to one another, becoming as De Rouville points out the 'other's torment'. When marriages are rooted in the world and not in the Divine will these differences are those that eventually become destructive and "a matter that can have a deadly outcome."
     Another reality that I have witnessed in the married vocation is the conversion of heart to our Lord. There is often an awakening that can take place in the life of either spouse  that not only heightens ones regard for our Lord in their personal lives, but also increases an understanding of what the married vocation is truly about. 
The discovery that their marriage does not bear the fruits of the Lord can at first be very detrimental to the relationship. It is this awareness that may bring about misguided resentment toward the partner involved or also ignite the unhealthy desire to flee from the relationship and seemingly be occupied 'striving for virtue' yet remain unfaithful to their chosen state in life. Thus, ultimately living in a state of disillusioned virtue. It is a time of great learning and one that can be of great pain and anguish. Such are the pains of purification and sanctification. The danger in these moments is the inability of the partner who experiences the Lord to see this awakening as grace and a gift to them so that the union which was made previously in ignorance of consulting God can be redeemed and restored  by His mercy, and by steadfast prayer and fervent growth in relationship with the Lord. Our Lord's will is unitive and so in working toward what He has willed for us and taking up this 'Cross' we can be provided for.  
De Rouvelle shares that the hardship and trials faced by those who marry without the consideration of the Lord are permitted by God  'as an earthly punishment'..while this can appear to be rather harsh, it is not entirely dismissible.  
   When faced with the trials and tribulation of life, and in simultaneously facing the gift and knowledge of faith, we must  be reminded of our Crucified Lord. We must recall the virtuous life He led and also reflect upon the great sacrifice of Mary and Joseph. It is not about looking outward toward the other that one acquires what is needed to persevere in this vocation, it is by gazing inward and meeting our Lord within our hearts that we can endure what comes with virtue. We must be reminded that what our Lord wills for us is driven by great love, as He is complete love. 
      Let one not fret if they have entered into this Sacrament unaware. May their hearts be open to our Lord and may this conversion of heart;the pains of purification be those that result in a stronger and deeper union with our Lord. May the consequence of this be the fruitfulness of married love. Let us strive to restore marriage to be a sign of 'Divine love in the world' by restoring our personal relationship with the Lord. (C.C.) 

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