I must stop offering excuses for the lack of writing on this blog. Now that I have access to a computer outside of work, I might be able to do some more writing on this blog.
I publish this post "Gift and Mystery", because I want to take on the theme of vocations. Now, when one educated Catholic hears these two together, they immediately think of Pope John Paul II's book, which is a book about his priesthood, and the priesthood itself. For the priesthood is both a gift and mystery. Of the many things on my list to read, this is one of those.
But today, I wish to share my joy about another vocation: the vocation of marriage. Less than a month ago, on August 22nd, I entered, in a very profound way, into this vocation. I married Angela, a very thoughtful, loving, caring and compassionate girl; a girl with a great sense of humor, and one that can really make me laugh.
The Nuptial Mass was something out of a liturgical guide for good liturgy. It was very solemn; there was a Latin choir, three priests, two deacons, and a number of altar servers. The music was beautiful, and everything about the Mass made me realize that the Mass is something other worldly, and that we experience, on that day, a taste of heaven, in a very literal way in the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass.
So far, married life is good, although it has only been about a month. We have our things to work out, but we work them out with patience, love, and encouragement, or at least we try to. I am a faithful Catholic, who adheres to the teachings of the Church. Something that is hard for me is to live out that Catholic faith at all moments of the day. Do I proclaim to others the joy of the Risen Lord, by thought, word, and action? Do I pray as I ought? Do I love others before myself?
The thing is, that I truly believe that in matrimony, the spouse takes on the responsibility of getting the other to marriage. I now have a soul to care for: Angie. Marriage isn't just about the here and now; it is about the thereafter: heaven and eternal happiness.
Many people miss the true aim of marriage. Many people get married because of the sex and to have a good time. While the marital act is an essential part of marriage, it goes much further than that: the marital act is sacramental! Through love making, a married couple enters deeper into the sacrament of matrimony. The marital act is a prayer to God. Some Catholic priests and theologians are coming out now, saying that couples should pray during sex. They aren't far off. It is through this intense prayer, that they offer themselves for the other person.
Sex isn't only a prayer: it is redemptive. Christ offered himself on the Cross for the remission of sins, and married couples are called to enter into that union in the marital act. Just like the priest who offers Mass for the sake of his flock, man and woman unite, and they offer themselves in the sacrament for the sake of the other.
They totally give themselves to the other. There are examples though, when they turn away from the sacramental notion of lovemaking, and couples distort this true sacrifice. One such example of this is the use of contraception. Contraception is the exact opposite of love. It inhibits love. True love doesn't involve sole pleasure, but the laying down of one's life for the other. The man has a great gift to give to the woman, a life giving gift, but through the use of contraception and artificial forms of life-prevention, this gift, this love, is interrupted.
I hope, that in subsequent posts, I will dive deeper into the mystery of the marital union. What a great gift it is, that God has given us.
May you remain close and reside in the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.