There’s a war going on out there.
It’s a battle for our faith; it tests our commitment and our values. It is often subtle – so subtle that we don’t notice sometimes that we should be fighting. I am focusing on marriage, as that was a recent topic of our Chapel group’s faith study.
Our society tells us some things that seem innocuous. We can “have it all”, we are independent, we should not subordinate our dreams to the dreams of others.
But what if we should not have it all because that makes us greedy and ungrateful? What if we are called to be interdependent and not independent or dependent? What if we develop a shared dream that means we both give up something but gain so much more than the individual dream could ever have given us or the world?
Our model in all things should be Christ. St. Paul makes this point in his letter to the Ephesians, but there is more for us to contemplate.
And, as a Military affiliated woman, this particularly resonates with me: Jesus was given a Mission. It was one of saving humanity. A tall order that only He could accomplish as true God and true man. He was to suffer, die, and rise again. But He could only do any of these things if He first was a mortal being.
The fact that He willingly accepts the Mission from His Father brilliantly displays His obedience to Authority because of their love for one another.
Jesus then sets about leading a fairly normal life for a man of His era until the appointed time. And then He begins a ministry of forgiveness, mercy, and healing for those who repent of their sins. He will die for all of us. And He will serve everyone else until He does.
He even gives us a ‘heads up’ of what to expect if we follow in His footsteps. In the Beatitudes we learn that we should not expect a smooth, unfettered journey. But we are to be, or ought to be, joyful, because our suffering is all for the glory of God if we choose to live for Him.
Our Lord suffered, was unappreciated, was misunderstood, abandoned, betrayed, and persecuted, finally murdered. This is the man we are to emulate. But that man, and our God, also loved unconditionally, was full of compassion and mercy. Jesus was a healer, and a teacher, and a faithful companion and servant of all.
He still is, of course, all these things.
All those good things we can be, as well. Not because we are God, but because the Spirit of God dwells within us.
As baptized Christians, confirmed in our Catholic faith, the Spirit of God is within us. And so, the ability to love unconditionally and to show mercy, to be compassionate, all those good things, we are capable of. We cannot love like that on our own. To love with “the love with which God loves” is a gift we are given by our Triune God. (Thank you for those words, Fr. Stephen Torraco.)
And so if we embrace that power within us, we don’t worry about who’s in charge in our relationships, including our marriages; we don’t concern ourselves with who gets the credit, or about giving up “control”. We don’t even think of those things because from Jesus’ perspective, those things don’t matter.
If we each are giving of ourselves to one another, 100%, we give and do not count the cost, to quote St. Ignatius. And if we give each other the respect we are all deserving of as human beings made in the image of God and sanctified by His becoming one of us, it is a communal experience. God and Jesus loving one another and giving us the Holy Spirit, while husband and wife love one another and make a family, are united with each other.
My husband and I have always believed that we are God’s gift to one another. A gift given out of love is a precious gift. And when given by the perfect Lover, is perfect for us.
We need to remember to thank God for our gifts, especially the one we married.
All of us continue Jesus’ mission on earth. We share the good news, we love, we heal, we suffer and we serve. It is the most noble task and the most rewarding.
In the Army’s Warrior Ethos, the mission comes first. With our Lord’s Mission, which we share as Christians, may that always be so.