It was a privilege to celebrate today the marriage of Cheryl & Gabriel in Cebu, Philippines. On the back of the missal booklet that they had prepared for their wedding, they had printed the reflection below. After the entry of the bride and groom, before the beginning of the Mass, they chose to have these words read aloud to focus all gathered on the heart of Christian marriage lived as an intense relationship with Jesus Christ.
The first help that can be offered to those who want to marry is to help them to become aware of their own human mystery. Only in this way will they be able to focus adequately on their relationship, without expecting from it something which by their very nature neither can give to the other. How much violence, how much disappointment could be avoided in marriage relationships, if people were to understand their own nature!
This lack of awareness of human destiny leads people to found their whole relationship on a deception–the conviction that the you can make the I happy. In this way, their mutual relationship is transformed into a refuge, so desired, yet quite useless for solving the affective problem.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. (Mt 10:34-37; 39-40). In this text, Jesus presents himself as the center of human affection and freedom. Putting himself at the core of natural feelings, he asserts his full right as their true root. In this way, Jesus reveals the importance of the promise his person constitutes for those who let Him in. It is not an interference on Jesus’ part at the most intimate level of human feelings, but rather the greatest promise that a person could ever receive; for without loving Christ, Beauty made flesh, more than the person you love, this relationship withers, because He is the truth of this relationship, the fullness to which both partners point, and in whom their relationship is fulfilled. Only by letting Him in is it possible for the most beautiful relationship that can happen in life not to be corrupted and die in time. This is the audacity of His claim.
Without an experience of Christ as human fulfillment, the Christian ideal of marriage is reduced to something impossible to realize. The indissolubility of marriage and the eternity of love seem to be dreams beyond reach. In fact, they are the fruit of such an intense experience of Christ that they appear to the couple themselves as a surprise, as the witness that “nothing is impossible for God.” Only an experience like this can show the rationality of the Christian faith as totally corresponding to human desire and needs, even in marriage and the family.
“Lady, Your Beauty Seemed to Me Like a Divine Light in My Mind”
Julian Carron’s talk at the Pastoral Theological Congress,
“The transmission of faith inside the family,
”on the occasion of the fifth World Meeting of Families with Benedict XVI.
Valencia, Spain, July 5, 2006