Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels.”
I have a confession. I confess that I once made an idol of marriage – I watched one too many episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” and somehow let secular society convince me that a wedding was my ticket to living happily ever after. Pathetic, I know. But unfortunately I am not the only one who has fallen into this trap. So many awesome single Christians act like hamsters on crack around other single Christians because they have forgotten that God is love and that He alone can completely satisfy our hearts. It has taken me twenty-five years and a ridiculous amount of sin and heartbreak to realize that what Saint Augustine said is true, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
In college I thought sex, drugs, and non-stop partying were the things that could make me happy. I looked to everything under the sun to find my worth and value. Ultimately I turned to the Son after everything and everyone else had failed me and it when then that my heart finally found rest. That is how I know for a fact that no other human being can truly give me the love I long for. I’ve tried it all. Like the prodigal son, I left home and wasted everything the Father gave me but when I finally came home I found forgiveness and healing. I sinned against God more times than I care to remember only to find out that my worth and value comes is rooted in God alone. We are all made in His image and likeness and that alone makes us worthy of love.
God is the most romantic lover of all time. Every day He is there for us - body, blood, soul, and divinity. Every day He seeks to be in union with us through the sacraments. And every day His bride, the Church is there to offer us the sacraments. Marriage is a sacrament. It is holy and sacred and it is meant to make us holy and sacred. It’s not about living happily ever after it’s about dying to oneself for the sake of holiness – that is exactly why it does not exist in Heaven. The angels and saints in Heaven do not need baptism, Holy Communion, reconciliation, confirmation, anointing of the sick, holy orders, or marriage because they are all living in perfect union with God. The sacraments purify us so that we may become worthy to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb, once we’re there they become unnecessary.
Husbands and wives will never be able to completely satisfy one another but they can always choose to sanctify one another. I learned that lesson from my parents. My mom and dad blamed one another for their unhappiness so they got a divorce. As a child I thought that if they just tried harder, if they were nicer to one another, if they didn’t yell so much, if my dad didn’t work so much, or if my mom got along with her in-laws that they could work things out and get back together. But neither one of them would help the other carry their cross. I realize now that their marriage failed because of their unwillingness to participate in the other sacraments, mainly the sacrament of reconciliation. Pride and selfishness prevented them from leading one another to the Cross. They couldn’t help each other get to Heaven because they were unwilling to sacrifice. And if there is one thing I know for sure after leaving the Church for ten years it is that we can sacrifice with loving but we can never love without sacrificing.
Another lesson I learned along my journey back to the Church is that humility cures every pain and every hurt. Humble people are happy because they are holy. Mama Mary is holy not just because she is a virgin but because she humbled herself before the Lord. She submitted herself to the will of God when everything seemed impossible and because of her humility she became His first tabernacle. Because of his obedience to the will of God, Joseph was entrusted with the holy family. I used to think that humility meant being boring and useless. How wrong was I? I now know that humility and holiness lead to a full life and abundant love whether you are married or single.
“Love of self without love of God is selfishness; love of neighbor without love of God embraces only those who are pleasing to us, not those who are hateful.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Three to Get Married
This mediation was written by Stephanie Juarez. She is a pro-life advocate in Dallas, TX and serves as confirmation catechist at St. Monica church. For more of her writings please visit her blog Lover of the Light.