I recently reflected on the witness that Religious men and women in consecrated life give to us all, in the areas of poverty, chastity and obedience.
All vocations are not simply important to the persons concerned but also contributed to the spiritual journey of all.
The sacrament of marriage bears witness to committed love. This sacrament reminds us that love can endure many challenges. There is much ‘dying’ to the Ego in marriage. There is much ‘dying to self.’ In a healthy marriage there is a finding oneself by giving oneself.
Marriage is about the deep love between two people. The nature of the commitment means that one loves the other in a manner that is extremely special and is not shared with anyone else in the same way.
It is also the place where children are conceived and born.
In our Christian understanding there is a complementary and mutually enriching union between a man and a woman.
There are many other forms of friendship and deep love apart from marriage. However marriage is unique and the best place where a child can be nurtured and develop.
A healthy marriage is
1) Love giving
2) Self giving
3) Life giving
Human reality means that the ideal in marriage does not always happen. For many reasons, hopes and dreams can be shattered or at least lead to some hurt or disappointment.
So many people without any fault of their own find themselves in a place where they never thought that they would be.
This has certainly been the experience of some people who I know and love and I know that this is true for many others.
Those who are committed to celibacy for the sake of ‘the kingdom of God’ remind us all that there is a space within us that only God can fill. No spouse, no friend, no relative can be God for us.
In a healthy marriage spouses can be channels of God’s love for each other, they minister that love to each other.
However in our Christian understanding there is a third party to a healthy marriage. That is our God, who promised to be with us in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health! Whatever circumstance we find ourselves in God will never abandon us!