Holy Family

Holy Family

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Feast of Saint Stephen Harding

Good morning. We all have moments of doubt and discouragement in the course of our efforts to live good Christian lives. Someone yesterday asked “What does a person do when one becomes discouraged?” We do what we are called to do, we lift it up and we pray, for the only hope we have for peace and contentment in our lives is in Jesus. We just celebrated His Resurrection, but unfortunately in each life, as in the one just celebrated, we cannot get to the Resurrection without going through Good Friday first. No matter one’s life circumstances, times of doubt and discouragement are unavoidable, and the things of this world offer little in the way of solace, but we can reach out and raise one another up. We are reminded of this in today’s Gospel; the things of this world will not ultimately satisfy. 

Certainly being married I turn to my spouse in times of trouble or when I’m feeling discouraged, for where it concerns one, it concerns the other. If there is a concern for one spouse, it is a concern for both. In marriage it takes both spouses working together to find a solution which accommodates both and it sometimes calls upon one to raise-up the other in a way that is life-giving for the marriage. Throughout our lives we are reminded there will be crosses to bear; in fact most of us are reminded daily with the presence of a crucifix in various places in our lives. These crucifixes serve as a reminder that Jesus was lifted up for us, and it is likewise a reminder of God’s love for us and our call to likewise carry our own crosses, and in the case of marriage to share the weight of the cross with our spouse. 

This is what we are called to in marriage to give wholly to one another without consideration for our own individual cost, to sacrifice for each other, to raise one another up and give of ourselves towards sharing each other’s burdens on our way to Calvary. For when you are the one hurting it can be difficult to feel hopeful, but it helps to cling to the one we love. It helps to have our other to look to for joy in less than joyful times. Other ways of maintaining joy in our marriage is by making it a habit to do things that raise-up and maintain that joy in our partner. Marriage is not a puzzle to be solved but a way of life. The difference between successful marriages and those that struggle are good habits, habits which raise one another up. I’ve put together a list of a dozen very simple ways we can routinely raise-up our spouse:
  • Hug and kiss each other each time we leave.
  • Reach over and hold a hand or grasp a knee just because.
  • Write brief love notes.
  • Call or E-Mail from work and let them know you were thinking of them.
  • Compliment each other.
  • Sit and enjoy the quiet together.
  • Make breakfast or go out for breakfast after church on Sunday.
  • Open doors for one another
  • Go for a walk.
  • Tell each other “Thanks for taking such good care of me. 
  • Cuddle, just cuddle.
  • Compliment each other in front of family, friends, or strangers.
Our Saint for today, Saint Stephen Harding, met with much disappointment and hardship in his efforts as one of the founders of the Cistercians. He serves as a reminder of the need to lift-up our doubts and disappointments. Sacrifice for one another in marriage is not easy, but beyond Calvary is the joy of the Resurrection; it is only our love for each other, and the love of the Cross which makes that joy possible. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Stephen Harding. We beseech Thee, O Lord, grant that the example of the holy Monks may stir us to a better life, so that we may imitate the actions of those whose feast we celebrate. 

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