Monday, September 28, 2009

A Theology of Marriage

Reading Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II ought to be required for every Christian couple that's married or will be soon.  It has changed the way I see so many aspects of the Catholic faith, but it’s really begun to transform the way I look at the vocations of marriage and religious life.
I’m sure I’m not grasping the richness and fullness of the text just by reading it by myself, without a study group or one of the many books of commentary and explanation of these series of talks, but the ways in which this manuscript has already expanded my view of God’s purpose for each one of His children has amazed me.
As is often the case with me, I am struck with how far I fall short of what I am meant to be as a woman and wife. The awesome responsibility of this vocation, the love, and selflessness God intends for us to show through it are beyond comprehension and definitely much more than I have ever done or been for Kevin.
I feel bad that I have not lived up to these awe-inspiring expectations and purpose God has for me at the same time that I’m amazed at the love and trust implicated by God’s plan for the sort of relationship, submissiveness, and dedication my husband and I are called to have to one another.
A few months ago, I was praying and asked God to show me how He sees me. What came to my mind was me lying facedown prostrate before a gold tabernacle in a well-lit chapel. This image gave me hope, because it let me know that my devotion to God and desire to lay down my life for Him is what’s in the deepest recesses of my heart, despite all of the mistakes I make.
Recently, it occurred to me that just as my vocation to serve God first and put Him before all else has been clear to me and something I’ve strived to do (though, I’ve failed many times), the same must be true of my vocation to be Kevin’s wife. Intricately weaved into God’s will for me is His desire that I love and serve Kevin selflessly. Reading Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body has opened my eyes and heart to see how deeply intertwined are my vocations to serve God above all else and to love Kevin above everyone and everything else in my life.
I used to see those two vocations as more separate than I do now, complimentary, but not woven together in such a way that neither one can be unraveled without the other coming apart.
I am at peace bowing down to God and wanting to give Him all that I was, am, and can be. Now I must embrace the call to love Kevin so profoundly that I am comfortable bowing down to God’s presence in the tabernacle of his soul.
Lord, thank you for a growing awareness of how You intend for marriage to be a glowing sign of Your love, forgiveness, selflessness, compassion, mercy, and peace. Please help Kevin, me, and all married couples to focus on You above all else, so that we might live out the vocation of marriage in ways that will glorify You. Amen.
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