Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Feast of Saint Emily de Rodat
Good morning. Ask the typical American their view of love and marriage and the likely response will be something along the lines of love being a feeling (something that happens to us), and that it is about establishing a home and experiencing lots of fun together and being comfortable. And, somewhere in the mix of this one is likely to get a sense that as long as the couple are experiencing positive feelings for each other and their spouse fits a certain predetermined profile of a whatever it is a suitable spouse should be, then it is a “good marriage.” Ultimately, what one is likely to walk away with is an understanding of love and marriage as something which allows for each partner to achieve as much individual happiness as possible. What one is not likely to hear is that love and marriage is about something larger than themselves, that it essentially about new life and eternal life. One is not likely to hear that it is about something greater than themselves, or that it is about self-giving and sacrifice. There is not likely to be any description of love as we hear defined in today’s first reading from Corinthians, “Love is patient, love is kind…Love never fails…So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
This conversation regarding love and marriage is not likely to provide much in the way of any discussion of endurance, or commitment, or of forgiveness or acceptance of each other's faults. No, much like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, there will be instead conversation of things needing to it fit with our expectations. It needs to be this way or that way. The typical description of love and marriage will likely suggest couple’s needing to fit one another’s needs like a hand to a glove, and should the marriage not play out as expected, well then the American way is to just start over. The typical description of love come true, of marriage American style will offer impressions of Snow White and “Someday my Prince will come.” Well, Jesus wasn’t the prince the Pharisees were expecting, but our Prince of Peace showed us the way to love. The saints, whose lives we honor today, Saint Alonso, Saint Januarius, and Saint Emily de Rodat likewise show us the true meaning of love. True love goes beyond what we expect it to be, it reaches beyond each other’s humanness and shortcomings, and it is hard work. Unlike the typical American view of love and marriage, if we start-out expecting it to be about life and eternal life, and about self-sacrifice in the pursuit of something greater, then you have a marriage built on true love. Make a great day!
Today we recall the good lives of Saint Alonso de Orozco, Saint Januarius, and Saint Emily de Rodat.
Posted by Donald Gatwood at 8:00 AM