To share in the Son's relationship: How is this to be done? What did it mean for Jesus himself? It manifests itself in the Gospels primarily in the prayer of Jesus. The fact that he is Son means, above all, that he prays. That, in the ground of his being, whether he works among men or takes his rest, he is always open to the living God, always has his place in him, always regards his existence as an exchange with him and so always lives from this innermost depth... The Son does not simply design his own existence; he receives it in a most profound dialogue with God. It is this dialogue that makes him free to walk among men and makes him free to serve. It is this dialogue that teaches him, without school or teacher, to know Scripture more deeply than anyone else - to know it truly from God himself... Whoever becomes the son of this Father no longer stands alone. Entrance into this sonship is entrance into the great family of those who are sons along with us. It creates a relationship. To draw near to Christ means always to draw near to all those of whom he wants to make a single body.
What, then? Is marriage a theater? No! It is a mystery and a symbol of something mighty. Even if you don't show it honor, then honor what it symbolizes. "This mystery," says St. Paul, "is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church" (Eph 5:32).
It is a symbol of the Church, and of Christ. The two come together, and they make one. When two come together, they do not make a lifeless image, or the image of anything on earth, but of God Himself. Two come to marriage, about to be made one body. See again a mystery of love! If the two do not become one - if they remain two - they do not make many. But when they unite, then they make many.
What do we learn from this? That the power of union is mighty. The wisdom of God, in the beginning, divided the one in two; but He wanted to show that it remained one even after division. So He made it impossible for either alone to be enough for procreation. For neither can be one until united with the other. Each is only half. Each alone can produce no children.
Do you see the mystery of marriage? He made one from one; and after He made these two into one, He made one, so that now, also, children are produced from one. For husband and wife are not two, but one. This may be confirmed from many sources; for instance, from the words "male and female He created them" (Gen 1:27). If he is the head and she the body, how are they two? From the very fashioning of the body, one may see that they are one, for she was made from his side, and they are two halves.
And how do they become one flesh? As if she were pure gold receiving pure gold, so the woman receives the man's seed. She nourishes it and cherishes it and adds her own share, the two fused by pleasure. And so she gives it back as a child!
The child is a sort of bridge, so that the three become one flesh, the child connecting, on either side, each to the other. Two cities, though divided by a river, become one if a bridge connects them. How much more, then, if the very bridge is formed of the substance of each.
Why are you blushing? Leave that to the heretics and pagans, with their impure and immodest customs. For this reason I want marriage to be thoroughly purified, to bring it back again to its proper nobility. You should not be ashamed of these things; if you are ashamed, then you condemn God who made marriage.
So I shall tell you how marriage is a mystery of the Church. The Church was made from Christ's side, and He united with her in a spiritual union. For one man said: "I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband" (2 Cor. 11:2). And he goes on to say that "we are members of His body" (Eph 5:30).
Think about all these things, then, and let's not cast shame upon so great a mystery. Marriage is a symbol of the presence of Christ. Tell me: If you saw an image of the king, would you dishonor it? By no means.
- Taken from St. John Chrysostom
A Christian must proclaim Jesus Christ in such a way that he be accepted: received, not refused.... He knows that the proclamation of Jesus Christ is not easy, but that it does not depend on him. He must do everything possible, but the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the proclamation of the truth, depends on the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us...: "When he shall come, the Spirit of truth, he shall guide you into all the truth." [Saint] Paul does not say to the Athenians; "This is the encyclopedia of truth. Study this and you have the truth, the truth." No! The truth does not enter into an encyclopedia. The truth is an encounter - it is a meeting with Supreme Truth: Jesus, the great truth. No one owns the truth. Then we receive the truth when we meet [it].
The Christian who would bring the Gospel must go down this road: [must] listen to everyone!... [The Church] does not grow by means of proselytizing, [but] by attraction, by witnessing, by preaching.... Christians who are afraid to build bridges and prefer to build walls are Christians who are not sure of their faith, not sure of Jesus Christ.
When the Church loses this apostolic courage, she becomes a stalled Church, a tidy Church, a Church that is nice to look at, but that is without fertility, because she has lost the courage to go to the outskirts, where there are many people who are victims of idolatry, worldliness, of weak thought, [of] so many things. Let us today ask Saint Paul to give us this apostolic courage, this spiritual fervor, so that we might be confident. "But Father," [you might say], "we might make mistakes."... "[Well, what of it," I might respond], "Get on with you: if you make a mistake, you get up and go forward: that is the way. Those who do not walk in order not to err, make the more serious mistake."
- Taken from Pope Francis, Wednesday, May 8, 2013 Mass: "Build Bridges, Not Walls" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican Radio website).
Do you ever wonder what the Passion of Jesus Christ was really like? A glimpse of it was present and videotaped on Nov. 24, 2013 in Argentina as radical feminists and pro-abortion forces defamed, mocked and attacked peaceful, pro-life men forming a barricade to protect their church from these vandals. Witness these brave souls endure the truly diabolical assault of their countrymen and women. For those who need evidence of evil spirits and the spiritual war that plays out in the hearts and cultures of the world every day, look no further. Click here for the full story of the malicious attack. WARNING: The video below is disturbing.
Author Vicki Burbach has a way with words in her entries on the National Catholic Register's Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction blog. Providing nuggets of wisdom from classic Catholic books, Vicki most recently was kind enough to mention and muse about her own parish, St. Peter Church, and its relationship to the restoration of the sacred and reverence for the Eucharist. Click here to read her most recent entry.