The Sermon on the Mount, Cosimo Rosselli, c. 1481
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
God…does not ration his gift of the Spirit. John 3:34
“No thanks, Lord. I have enough fruits of your Spirit. I’m good. I don’t need any special graces.” Does this sound like you? Do you know that the gifts of the Spirit will help you live out the Sacrament of Matrimony faithfully, fruitfully and forever?
Marriage is hard work. The family is to be the center of the New Evangelization with the mission of witnessing Christ’s life and love to the world. We have to become desperate for the sake of others. We have to become hungry for the souls of our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends. Are you desperate? Are you hungry? Do you want more of the Spirit?
God wants to give you more of His Spirit. However, God only gives us more of His Spirit if we have a burning desire for Him. God feeds us according to our hunger. God has prepared a huge, sumptuous banquet for us and He is the main course. There is always more for those who hunger for God.
Are you hungry for more of God’s Spirit? Are you desperate to receive the Lord? Be a hungry beggar before God: “God, I need more of your Spirit. I need more of your grace. I need more of your mercy. I need more of your love. I have so little of you, Lord. Give me more.”
Be a person hungry to make Jesus known and loved. Be hungry for God so that He will fill you to overflowing with His Spirit. Then go and preach the Good News of the Gospel to those in most need of God’s love and mercy.
Peace be with you.
This is the 100th post to the Calling Couples to Christ blog. Please pray for us and our ministry of building holy and happy marriages as we pray for you.
“Beauty will save the world,” said Russian novelist and philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky in his 1868 novel The Idiot.
Indeed, God, the one who is all beautiful has saved the world! He is jaw-droppingly beautiful. He is so beautiful that we cannot bear to see Him face-to-face. In the Old Testament, anyone who looked upon the face of God would die. We can get a glimpse of His beauty and grandeur through His resplendent creation. Apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of this beauty during the transfiguration of Jesus, “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light” (Mt 17:2). Nothing is more beautiful than what Jesus did on the cross for the salvation of our souls.
Titian, Carrying of the Cross, c. 1565
This is the fourth in our series reflecting on the Gospel accounts of Christ’s passion and death on a cross using the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary as our guide. We have looked at Christ’s agony in the garden of Gethsemane where he took on the sins of the world, His brutal scourging at the hands of the Roman guards and the crowning of thorns. Today we will look at the torturous journey to Golgotha as Christ carried His own cross to be used in His crucifixion.
Crowning with Thorns, Gerard van Honthorst, c. 1622
And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the praetorium); and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on him. Mark 15:16-17
During Lent, we are reflecting on Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. So far, we have reflected on the Agony in the Garden and The Scourging. This week we will look at the third Sorrowful Mystery of the Holy Rosary, the Crowning with Thorns.
Flagellation of Christ, Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1617
I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and requite him with comfort…Peace, peace, to the far and to the near, says the Lord; and I will heal him. Isaiah 57:18-19
During Lent, we are reflecting on Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. Last week, we reflected on the Agony in the Garden. This week we will look at the scourging of Christ at the pillar.
The Kiss of Judas, Fra Angelico, c. 1442
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:1-6
On this the first Sunday of Lent, we are called to a closer relationship with Christ as we focus on His loving sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. As we journey through Lent, we ask you to reflect with us on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary: The Agony in the Garden; The Scourging; The Crowning with Thorns; The Carrying of the Cross; and The Crucifixion. Finally, on the eve of Easter, we will reflect on Christ’s Resurrection. Our prayer is that these reflections over the next several weeks will help you gain greater understanding of Christ’s love for you and for your spouse.
The Rebuke of Adam and Eve
Charles Joseph Natoire (c. 1740)
Matrimony is one of the two sacraments of service in the Catholic Church, the other being Holy Orders. These sacraments “are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1534). Along with the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, “they ground the common vocation of all Christ’s disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world” (CCC, 1533).
My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Sirach 2:1
He is mindful of his covenant for ever… Psalm 105:8
A contract is a mutually beneficial agreement entered into by two parties. The contract can be broken when it is no longer beneficial to one of the parties. In contrast, a marriage covenant is a lifelong agreement entered into by two parties and God that can never be broken. The Hebrew word for covenant is berith, derived from a root which means “to cut.” Entering into a covenant in the Old Testament involved the ritual of cutting or dividing an animal into two parts with the contracting parties passing between them to seal the agreement. Both parties vowed an oath that it be done unto them as was done to this animal if they violated the terms of the agreement.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Today the Church celebrates World Marriage Day, giving honor to husbands and wives who faithfully live out their covenant in the Sacrament of Marriage. Two days from now, our culture will celebrate love on Valentine’s Day. Advertisers work hard convincing us that love is all about warm, fuzzy feelings, cards, candy and flowers.
Christian husbands and wives are in a unique position to show the world what real love is. True love is the total gift of self for the betterment of another. It involves sacrifice. Love is doing what is right even when it does not feel very good. Love is meeting the needs of someone else before your own needs. We can love because God first loved us. The perfect image of this unconditional love is Jesus nailed to the cross for the forgiveness of sins. Ask God for the grace to be able to love your spouse in this self-sacrificial way.