What do you think is probably one of the hardest yet most meaningful things you will do in your life?
I propose it is Marriage, and in reality, all relationships.
Marriage is an everyday effort. It requires effort on the part of the husband and wife; effort to die to their own egos, needs and desires, and giving to the needs and desires of the whole family. It is a daily commitment to live for others, to love others, in the midst of a world that says live for the self, live only for our personal desires.
Yet, when all that effort is given, Marriages flourish. When all that effort is given, families thrive. People are happier, more at peace with the world, people feel more secure in the world. People live well, and communities flourish as well.
Christ came so that we may have life and have the fullness of life. This is Salvation. Christ came to give us life in the here and now. So that today, and every day, we may be fully alive. That means that we must be in relationship with others and that includes Christ. We are truly alive when we are living in the community of family, of church, of friendships. We are alive when in those relationships there is give and take, and that we are willing to give of ourselves, die to ourselves, for the sake of those relationships.
This takes a LOT of WORK.
It means that we have to Give time and LISTEN to others. IT means that we take time to know what we truly want and are able to communicate that to others. It means that we take the RISK to share our lives with others, take the risk of being changed, take the risk of being hurt.
YET again, it can be so worth it. Love is that security, that peace, that sense of belonging.
This is the narrow gate of faith.
And a lot of us try to cheat our way around it don’t we?!?!?
We cheat when we try to dominate relationships; either with bullying or that favorite tool of many, passive aggressiveness. We manipulate. We expect all others to conform to “my” way. And what we get…dysfunctional marriages, families and relationships.
we cheat when all we do is the bare minimum…we may go out for the occasional beer, if we are above 21; we may “like” and comment on our facebook, twitter, instagram, google plus accounts…but there is little actual time given to talking and listening.
This applies to our relationship with Christ. We try to bully Christ in our prayers; manipulate him. We also do the bare minimum…we come to mass on the weekends, and we take communion…maybe we get there on time… We go to confession at Christmas and Easter, maybe….We get the sacraments for ourselves or our children. We put a buck or two in the basket. WE call it good.
Then we wonder why life seems so meaningless? We wonder why we don’t feel God’s presence. We wonder why we don’t feel at peace in the world. Or when bad times arrive, we think God has abandoned us.
It is usually not God’s fault, but ours. Because we have not put forth the effort to develop our relationship with God. We chose the easy way, and we got a dysfunctional relationship with God. God is there, but we can see him because we truly don’t know God.
This is NOT what Christ came for. Again, he came so that we may have life, and have it fully.
That means that we have to give of ourselves to God in the relationship, as Jesus did in his life. God gave all for us, in Christ….we can give our very lives for him It means we must be a people of prayer; of communicating with God, talking with God and more importantly LISTENING To God. It means we have to spend time with God’s love letter to us…Scripture. This is where God is revealed in a spectacular way. And so many of us ignore it. It means that we discipline ourselves, learn to tell ourselves “NO” so that we can say “YES” to God’s life.
It means we commit to the way of LIFE given to us in Christ.
It is easy, NO! For many years, I did the minimum…But God is good…God called me to the priesthood, in part I believe, so that I would be prompted to go deeper into a relationship. It was not easy and has not been easy, but oh so worth it. Finding that deeper relationship with Christ and God has brought to me a deeper relationship with the world around me, with the people around me.
In that relationship with God, God has given more security, more peace, more.
God wants this for all of us. He invites us into to. Will we accept it?