True love requires great courage. Jesus called it “going the extra mile and turning the cheek (in Matthew 5), and giving to others as if giving to Christ himself (Matthew 25). Saint Paul called it “not demanding one’s own way, not brooding over injury, and enduring all things” (in 1 Corinthians 13).
“The Sacrament of Marriage is a great act of faith and love: it witnesses the courage to believe in the beauty of God’s creative act and to live that love that pushes one to always go beyond, beyond oneself and also beyond the family itself.” (Pope Francis, May 6, 2015)
Getting married and having children raises us up to new levels of faith, because it challenges us to grow in holiness. It matures us from selfishness to service.
Selfishness is the underlying reason why many people today avoid the commitment of marriage, and it is likewise selfish to choose to have no children. Commitment – and remaining committed to our commitment – is other-centered in the same way that God decided to become one of us as Jesus our Savior. Extending our love by building a family is life-giving in the same way that Jesus extended his love through a community of faith. And building the faith of our spouse and our children is the necessary goal of married life in the same way that Jesus came to take us to heaven.
This is love without holding anything back. Pope Francis explained: “The Christian vocation to love without reservation and without measure is what, with Christ’s grace, is also at the base of the free consensus that constitutes marriage.” In marriage, we freely choose to love spouse and children the same way Christ has loved us. This is Radical Love!
- Why does a commitment to marriage and children often seem like too much of a sacrifice?
- In what ways is courage needed today to extend Christ’s love to the world today?
Strengthen your relationship:
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Read it a second time replacing “love” with “Jesus”. Read it a third time replacing “love is” and “it is” with “I am” while reflecting on the idea that this is your own true nature, because you were made in the image of God, who is love. And then read it again to your sweetheart, substituting his or her name into it. What does this reveal to you? Lastly, read it as a prayer of thanksgiving; for example: “Lord Jesus, thank you for being patient with us….”
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© 2017 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries