Marriage as Covenant, Church as Marriage

Today is the twenty-second anniversary of our marriage. It has been, and continues to be, a crazy-busy, head-spinning, gut-wrenching week, so we’ve agreed to postpone our celebration until sometime late next week or the following week. It’s an important day, but also no big deal. We’re in it for the long haul.

Not long ago, one of my dear spiritual daughters asked me: If it is natural for people to grow out of some friendships over time, what about marriages? I told her that it’s natural that certain feelings toward your spouse might change over time, like they do toward anyone else. The difference is that married love is not friendship.

Love is choosing the good of another regardless of the cost to yourself. Marriage is a lifelong commitment to love one person above all others save God. Love is an act of the will. Married love is an act of the will—a choice you make, as best you can, for the good of another—every moment of every day for the rest of your life.

In this light, married couples might grow out of friendly feelings, but must not grow out of love for each other. Continue reading

Loose Ends and Lessons

Blogger’s Note: This is the latest in a collection of daily posts outlining my journey to the Sacred Heart over the past year or more. See an overview and links to past posts here.

This is my twentieth post related to the Sacred Heart in twenty-one days. As I mentioned in the first one, my motivation for this series was to break into bite-size pieces what promised to be a sprawling single post about how Christ has been drawing me toward His love and mercy via His Sacred Heart (with a secondary motive of breaking through writer’s block to begin writing daily again).

The result has been bigger and more sprawling than I thought, with a longer timeline and deeper connections than expected. In this final, formal post of the series, I’ll share three last connections from along The Way. Continue reading

The Narrow Way

Blogger’s Note: This is the latest in a collection of daily posts outlining my journey to the Sacred Heart over the past year or more. See an overview and links to past posts here.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” — Matthew 7:13-14

The narrow way leads ever upward, and you follow as you can. Bare rock and brambles, clefts and washouts so steep and deep you turn sideways to pass or clamber out on all fours. Feet and fingers dirt-caked and bloody; knees rubbed raw, and muscles aching, you begin to imagine the weight of the wood.

The path that left the road was barely a path at all: a crooked parting in the thistles and brush, leading up to scrub oak and pines. Emerging at last above the trees, at intervals you glimpse the road below, broad and easy, winding downward into the cool shadows of the valley; you hear snatches of ribald song, bells, and laughter.

But that was hours ago—the temptation to join the carefree throng is long past. Beyond birdsong and brooksong, the air is thin and sharp as a blade in your lungs. As the sun drops, the urge now is not to turn back, but simply to cease. Continue reading

Heartstrings IV

Blogger’s Note: This is the latest in a collection of daily posts outlining my journey to the Sacred Heart over the past year or more. See an overview and links to past posts here.

One more short post: As I look around me, I see all sorts of images of Jesus’ crucified Sacred Heart, the source of Divine Mercy, now.

In summer of 2016, we handed out a prayer card at our staff retreat. On one side was an image of the Sacred Heart, and on the other, the Anima Christi (Soul of Christ) prayer, which has become a favorite of mine for just before or just after receiving Holy Communion:

img_20180628_205916191_hdr-e1530239440470.jpgAnime Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ’s side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
Forever and ever
Amen

“Within thy wounds hide me” seemed like a strange line at first, but as I’ve journeyed closer and closer to the source of Divine Mercy, His pierced Sacred Heart, the more sense it makes to me…

Heartstrings III

Blogger’s Note: This is the latest in a collection of daily posts outlining my journey to the Sacred Heart over the past year or more. See an overview and links to past posts here.

It’s been a busy week, with the Totus Tuus program in full swing at Saint Andrew (plus the completion of my reconsecration to Mary on this Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help), so I’m sticking with another short “cheater” post—another “heartstring” connect me to the Sacred Heart.

Perhaps I’ve felt particularly drawn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (and Mary’s Immaculate Heart) only in the past year or so, but the image below shows the first religious artwork we purchased together and displayed prominently in our home.

IMG_20180627_215932956_HDR

O Heart of Jesus pierced for our sins and giving us your Mother on Calvary! O Heart of Mary pierced by sorrow and sharing in the sufferings of your divine Son for our redemption! O sacred union of these Two Hearts! Praised be the God of Love who united them together! — from the Prayer to the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary, which I just discovered today