Thursday, June 8, 2017

When Julie and I first got married I had no idea what a Sacrament was. Growing up in the mountains of Virginia I had never heard that word used inside of any of the Ecclesial Communities I had the privilege to attend. (click the link to read more)

Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 356


TB 6:10-11; 7:1BCDE, 9-17; 8:4-9A
PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
MK 12:28-34

When Julie and I first got married I had no idea what a Sacrament was.   Growing up in the mountains of Virginia I had never heard that word used inside of any of the Ecclesial Communities I had the privilege to attend.    A marriage had always seemed like more of a contract to me than what I now know to be Holy Matrimony.   Scott Hahn once said, “A covenant differs from a contract almost as much as marriage differs from prostitution.”  That’s a bold statement.  It’s one I have come to agree with over the years though.  In a contract people exchange goods or services.  “I’ll give you 10 dollars, you give me that clock.”   A covenant is an exchange of people.  “I’ll give you me and you give me you.”  Nothing is held back.  Everything I am belongs to her and everything she is belongs to me.   All of this means very little unless God is involved.

That’s the beautiful thing about the example set forth by Tobiah and Sarah!   Even on their wedding night they stopped before consummating the marriage and went before God together in prayer.  When I first read that book during my conversion process I was astounded at the fact I had never really involved God in that particular area of my life.  The bedroom had always been a physical release between two people.  Yet, in the covenant with God He phrased it “I will be your God and you will be my people.”  All of me.   Every aspect.   Not just the parts that I want to share, but my entire life.   Praying at all times without ceasing.   Julie and I had some frank discussions after that.   Then we did something that many people react interestingly to when they find out about it.   We began to live as brother and sister.   We stopped being intimate with one another during our annulment process until we knew for sure that our previous marriages were not sacramental and that this one was.  We waited for the Church's approval, for God’s approval, before continuing to love each other in that way.

So many walk away from Church over sexual sin.   Be it that they have taken a vow of chastity and have decided they want to be intimate with someone, or that they want to have relations that the Church and natural law declare disordered; they decide that because they ‘love’ someone they should be able to love how they see fit.   Jesus reminds us today of something very important.   In the Gospel He says the greatest command is to love God.  Yes, love your neighbor is close to it and second, but the greatest is the very first one.  That means we put Him first even in our marriage, even the sacred act of the sacramental bond.   Saint Pope John Paul the Second wrote in the Encyclical Dives in Misericordia that “openness to Christ, who as the Redeemer of the world fully reveals man himself, can only be achieved through an ever more mature reference to the Father and His love.”   That is, the only way for us to truly know ourselves and be able to offer ourselves to another person in true love is the know the Father through knowing Christ.  That means putting Him first in all things, that we can then offer a gift of love to our spouses that flows from the love of God whose love for our spouse is beyond even the greatest love we have ourselves have to give.    That’s what I should want for my wife, that my love for her begin to resemble God’s love for her… the best love, because she deserves better than what I have to offer on my own.

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins


"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14