I may not be able to define theologically what marriage is, but I do believe that any spousal relationship is strengthened when it is based on a firm foundation which is “love” – the “will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth” (Scott Peck). To put it in another way: “when the satisfaction, security and development of another person becomes as significant to you as your own” ( Sullivan).
This kind of relationship will eventually give both the husband and wife conscious awareness of their responsibility as stewards of God’s domain. Furthermore, marriage is intended to be a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman. Committing themselves completely to each other, the husband and the wife strive to sanctify each other, bring children into the world, and educate them in a non-violence way of life. Man and woman, although created differently from each other, complement each other. This complementarity draws them together in a mutually loving union. Indeed, the mutual love between husband and wife becomes an image of the eternal love with which God loves humankind.
Exploring the various developments on the teachings of the Church prior to marriage, I was led back to how I saw and experienced “marriage” while growing up through the witnessing of my own father and mother. Gestures of love were explicitly shared with us children through their being, first and foremost, good parents to all of us. How? Through their simple yet edifying witnessing day by day. We, their children, really felt part of their conjugal relationship which encouraged emotional, physical, intellectual, social and spiritual growth of the entire family unit – husband, wife and children. I am not saying they were perfect but their matrimonial covenant bound them to live a faithful and fruitful love for almost 47 years. We also appreciated how they passed on to us the different values of life essential to our journey as growing children. The quality time spent with us was also a positive factor in their healthy intimate relationships with each other and with their children.
Undoubtedly, the Church sees more in the family than a school where one learns how to live in a bigger society. The family, led by the husband and wife is, more importantly, the first school of sanctity. The values learned and acquired are necessary for living in a larger society, like that of forgiveness, sacrifice for others, reciprocity and mutual love. It is through experiences in the family that we not only discover and love God, but we also come into union with God.
As a member of God’s family called to work in diverse community settings (inside and outside our own family), and equipped with our past and present experiences of life, we are challenged to
- live a healthy Christian life so as to improve the quality of our faith as a family
- give the best service that we can so that with simple gestures of love and concern, each member of the family will feel that they are special and loved
- help one another evaluate our level of relationship so as to realise that “marriage is holy, the home is sacred and birth is a miracle.”
Home is where true love begins… let’s make it happen… calling all families to be transformed and live life to the fullest!
The goodness of our humanity explains our search for excellence, our desire to do good – to have a habit of doing good and be joyful in it. Therefore, we must feel in our hearts its inner meaning in our life. One must go beyond one’s own self. “Listening and appreciating God’s word leads to knowledge. But we must seek for enlightenment, for when you have knowledge you use a torch to show the way. When you are enlightened you become a torch for others” (De Mello).
Sr M Connie Borjal fdz