"I should like you to be free of anxieties...
St. Paul here refers to the advantage of celibacy as opposed to marriage and its responsibilities. This is an objective advantage of celibacy, in that, normally, if one practices the faith, it is easier to focus on God alone if one is celibate. That is an objective standard, not a subjective one. In the reality of personal discernment of vocation, one has to seek a subjective calling that transcends objective norms that might not fit you personally. Say what?
While priesthood and religious life are wonderful goods in and of themselves, not everyone is cut out for it. Even Jesus says that only those who can accept it should choose such a lifestyle. Some seem uniquely called to marriage. This means that if one is called to marriage then that is exactly where they will find their greatest holiness and glorify God accordingly. One of the great pro-life warriors in our nation, Joe Scheidler, shared with me his own story of coming up to one week before his deaconate ordination, where one makes a promise of perpetual celibacy, and realizing that this was not for him. He left seminary and married a wonderful woman Anne and had many children, becoming the preminent pro-life activist in the country. He had no doubt that God was calling him to marriage.
Marriage glorifies God if it is lived well. This takes a mutual self-giving on both parts. As the Pastoral Constitution on the Church states, "By their intimate union of persons and of actions they give mutual help and service to each other, experience the meaning of their unity, and gain an ever deeper understanding of it day by day…True married love is caught up into God’s love; it is guided and enriched by the redeeming power of Christ and the saving action of the Church, in order that the partners may be effectively led to God and receive help and strength in the sublime responsibility of parenthood."
I know this is difficult to live. So is celibacy. I have over 5000 ‘spouses’. (Try getting along with all of them!) I find it a miracle that there is so much communion amongst us. It is a great gift of God. It is His Holy Spirit and the bond we share in the Eucharist which makes it as easy as it is. This unifying power of Christ is promised to spouses if they are open to it. I recommend a little prayer from the prayer of Christ the High Priest who said, "Father…that they may be one, even as we are one." (John 17:11) Spouses can change this to, "Father, make us one (you and your spouse), even as you are one with the Son and the Holy Spirit." What a beautiful communion that can develop from this simple prayer. I pray it for all of our married couples now, even as I write this…
Contact Senator Joe Fain
Our local state senator has a key vote to protect the sanctity of marriage in our state. To claim that same-sex unions are equivalent to heterosexual marriage is outrageous and will effectively undermine the good of our society. Please contact our local state senator to respectively express your opinion.Call your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.
Here is the link to email your legislators: http://www.fpiw.org/marriage/email-your-legislator.html
Schedule a personal visit with your legislators to discuss marriage. Call ahead to do so. You can find their office number at:
http://www.leg.wa.gov/pages/home.aspx and clicking "find your district."
Book recommendation: Searching for and Maintaining Peace:
By Father Jacques Philippe
This little treatise is another gem from the author of Interior Freedom. In it he maintains that, "The more our soul is peaceful and tranquil, the more God is reflected in it, the more His image expresses itself in us, the more His grace acts through us." Philippe uses several scriptures to validate his position, like, "By waiting and by calm you shall be saved; in quiet and in trust your strength lies…" (Isaiah 30:15) He includes the counsel of Dom Scupoli, who wrote the classic, Unseen Warfare (or Spiritual Combat), "The devil does his utmost to banish peace from one’s heart, because he knows that God abides in peace and it is in peace that He accomplishes great things."
There is a powerful temptation in times of trial that Philippe would like to unmask for us, namely, "…the temptation to believe that, in the situation which is ours (personal, family, etc.), we lack something essential and that because of this, our progress, and the possibility of blossoming spiritually, is denied us." In other words, the trial has obscured the light of faith which tells us that "All things turn to good for those who believe." (Rom 8:28) This also destroys our peace, the peace that is essential for us to benefit from the current trial. God is present and as Philippe advises, "It is not the exterior circumstances that must change; it is above all our hearts that must change." May God bless all of us with great peace of heart and mind in our trials.