9 February, Thursday — One Flesh

Thursday of Week 5 in Ordinary Time

Gen 2:18-25
Mk 7:24-30

“It is not good that the man should be alone.”

If you’re ‘doing’ Catechism in a Year with Fr. Mike Schmitz and me (and 142 million others!), then on Day 23 you heard “NO ONE BUILDS A CHAIR ON THEIR OWN”.

That line really resonated with me – I know it, of course, but I had never really processed the fullness of that truth. It wouldn’t leave my thoughts, and I’ve shared it a number of times since then in various settings so that I won’t forget it. We are not made to exist alone, we cannot exist alone. If for no other reason than God’s statement, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” 

On Day 23, Fr. Mike also shared that faith is personal – but not isolated. The world – the playground of Lucifer – tries to tell us different, make us doubt that we ‘need’ each other. We’re told to ‘only depend on yourself; it’s all about you; a lifelong commitment to anyone (other than ourselves) is an outlandish, ridiculous, OLD FASHIONED and unattainable goal/desire.’ The world tells us NOT to become one. But God has instructed us to become one through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. With the example of the Trinity, we come to know that in losing ourselves, with God in the center, we are not lost, we are truly found and whole. 

Today’s first reading is most familiar, reminding us that in the sacrament of marriage we make a covenant with God; “…the two become one flesh”. It is a beautiful description of the love a man and a woman are created to share. And at the wedding itself, it brings only joy walking into the future. But, as all things on this earth, the day in and day out walking can also be difficult. Quite difficult. Becoming one isn’t just the feeling of being ‘in love’. Like faith, love – becoming one – is a decision.

Marriage is a long occasionally/sometimes/usually tough road. And it can feel/be, among many things, lonely. Two becoming one isn’t easy. Our flesh fights against it and the world, directed by Lucifer, tells us at every turn, ‘focus on yourself and your happiness’ because the norm is “only do what brings you joy; if it feels good, do it; if it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it; you deserve to be happy, to be happier; you didn’t sign up for this; you deserve better; be realistic, it’s “till love ends (not death) do us part” and on and on. Two becoming one isn’t easy because it is a life of putting the good of the other ahead of self. It isn’t easy, but it is possible – and it isn’t done overnight. We can see this even within our own being. We all have times when we are in conflict within ourselves, when we are making a decision of what to do – the right thing or the wrong thing — the good thing or the better thing. So, if even in our own being we have conflict, how much more when it is actually two beings?

I’ve been married for just over 35 years, and I have come to understand that for humans, this becoming one is a process. A process of days, weeks and years that sometimes seem to fly and, other times, crawl. Marriage is filled with moments/days/weeks/months (and years), some good, some bad, some ugly, some hurting, some fun, some laugh out loud, some spectacular. And I can assure you of this — when we desire and work to keep God at the center of two becoming one, the two becoming one gets easier and easier, and brings gratefulness beyond measure. And it is still a daily decision. Sometimes an easy decision, and sometimes one that only by the grace of God, is possible.

At the beginning of my second decade of marriage, I found this prayer that I have read… prayed…almost every day for over 20 years. I am not sure where I found it, or who wrote it, but I know it is powerful in its beauty and beautiful in its power.

Prayer of Spouses For Each Other

Lord Jesus, Grant that I and my Spouse may have a true and understanding love for each other. Grant that we may both be filled with faith and trust. Give us the grace to live with each other in peace and harmony. May we always bear with one another’s weaknesses and grow from each other’s strengths.

Help us to forgive one another’s failings and grant us patience, kindness, cheerfulness and the spirit of placing the well-being of one another ahead of self. May the love that brought us together grow and mature with each passing year. Bring us both ever closer to You through our love for each other. Let our love grow to perfection. Amen.

How much better our families, and thus our world, would be if all married couples prayed this every morning.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Lord, help us all to love like Mary and Joseph, believing in your Word and relying on You for all things.

Thanksgiving: Lord, we thank you for the gift of love that you shower on us at all times in all places, showing us how to love. We thank you for our faith to believe in the mystery of two becoming one. With you, we know all things are possible.


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