On occasion I am asked to engage young couples in pre-marital discussions. I meet with the couples for a series of visits and amongst a questionnaire and a discussion of its tabulated outcomes we exchange in some informal conversation regarding their personal experience of marriage and family. Of particular interest to me as a Catholic marriage counselor is their personal experience of trust and their relationship with their faith. I’m especially interested in their understanding of God in their lives as this will likely be a crucial determining factor in the lasting success of their marriage. This is particularly true in light of the increasing secular influences of our day. There is so much pressure which surrounds young couples today to minimize or even dismiss the sanctity of marriage, to view it as but a contractual arrangement which will last as long as everyone is happy and content but open to change at the first indication of discomfort. It saddens me to see this, and it saddens me even more to have to deal with the shattered outcomes of divorce as a result of such a casual understanding of the sacrament of marriage.
Many of the problems couples face can be attributed to a lack of trust in God. When God’s messenger asked Mary to be the Mother of the Savior, it could not have been easy for her to agree to such an awesome responsibility. Yet, she responded without hesitation because she had complete trust in Almighty God. We are likewise called every day to say ‘Yes’ to God. We are reminded today with the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the victory of Grace over sin. Let this remind us that with God all things are possible and that He is with us even in the most difficult of situations. Are we willing to open our hearts as Mary did? Do we truly listen and discern what God is asking of us each day? Can you say ‘Yes’ to being the husband or wife God is calling you to be today? It isn’t always easy, because we are not always happy and content; but like Mary, God is with us. We just need to look to Him and ask for His help. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Make a great day!
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We recall that Mary "...is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin—something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil."
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name;
And his mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of his mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.