by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Australian Catholic Church
True love in marriage and family is Christ’s kind of love.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away” ~ (First Letter to the Corinthians, 13:7-10).
In saying “love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things” Christians are not saying love makes lovers irrational, that Christian lovers believe any and every foolish thing. No, true love opens us up to understanding and appreciating hard and wonderful things, things that give us deep and abiding and ultimate joy; counterfeit love and lack of love leave us chasing after passing experiences of intimacy and pleasure, engaging in self-protective strategies of non-commitment, furtiveness and judgmentalism (cf. Amoris Laetitia 115). In trusting in God and in each other married couples let go of the all-too-common struggles for power in human relationships, the morbid battles for self-will that so pollute contemporary culture. As Pope Francis teaches here, “Love trusts, it sets free, it does not try to control, possess, or dominate everything.” It frees us to discover our identity and individuality within the context of self-donation and interdependence, rather than through self-invention and rivalry.
Love—marital love—is, in fact, the easiest and the hardest thing in the world. It’s easy because it’s a force of nature, “the madness of the gods” (as the ancient Greeks called it) that is equally felt by men and women. Attraction, affection, desire: these things come to us very naturally, fill us with delight, expand our hearts, our humanity, and are ultimately rooted in the love of God. Thus the vocation to marital love and the marriage-based family is given in our very human nature and confirmed by God’s blessing.
Yet love is not just a warm marshmallowy feeling or a demigodly passion: love is largely a choice, a commitment, a matter of mind and will, a free gift of the self to another for that other. And that requires constant attentiveness, communication, forgiveness, honesty, fidelity, a willingness to compromise your will for the sake of the other, to make their good your own. To love when the loving is hard, with Christ’s kind of love, love unto death, the love He describes as “taking up the cross and following in my footsteps” kind of loving. And that kind of selflessness does not always come so easily. Perhaps the greatest sign and also the greatest test of that kind of love is family: the vocation of co-creating with God, accepting and nurturing new images of God in love and religion. And that is surely something we cannot do by human effort alone.
Almighty and eternal God, you have so exalted the unbreakable bond of marriage that it has become the sacramental sign of your Son’s union with the Church as His spouse. As we are faced with uncertainty about the future of marriage and family, we need the wisdom and compassion of your Son now more than ever. Help us to ‘let go and let God’, to give our lives into your hands. Heavenly Father, grant that all Australia’s leaders develop a true understanding of the meaning and importance of marriage in our society. We pray that they will work cooperatively to ensure your nation upholds your plan for marriage and families. We pray also for the people of Australia, that they may embrace true marriage and the family, and that we may move forward as a society in unity and love. We make this prayer in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBxD4RrFA4M – Many Voices, One Promise
Canberra Declaration Daily Prayer Points for October
- A Miracle for Marriage
- Truth to be Exposed
- A Spirit of Repentance in the Church
- Revival and Transformation in our Nation
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