marriage as a cross

“I’ll share in your suffering… to make you well, to make you well…” – Phillip Phillips

When I watch this music video, I can’t help but smile. The song dons some pretty idealistic and romantic thoughts. Everything just screams “emotional high! I am in love!” Besides, perhaps, that line on suffering.

You know who the media needs to admire more, though? Not those couples who are “crazy in love” all the time. Instead, I think that the media should admire people who are married and truly fight to keep their marriage strong and alive in good times and in bad. Now those are the heroes of love, the spouses laying down their life for the other, even when that sense of excitement or chemistry is just plain ole’ gone

Still being loyal to the other even when everything feels like it is falling apart. 

Still dying to self for the other even when the other seems to be going cold turkey on you. Nothing could hurt more.

As I prepare myself for marriage, it’s odd thinking of all of the harsh, cold realities that may hit my dear fiance and me. O, and my fiance and I will let one another down at times. That’s a guarantee. One day, it may even feel like there is no chemistry. On either or both ends. What we do at such times will either strengthen or weaken our shared “cross” together. 

Yes, when we get married, we will both  be picking up the “cross” of marriage. This cross will be a joy and a blessing, but also a bearer of great struggle and hardship. This cross will our source of life! This cross will be our way to Heaven! May we always kiss its wood.

no radio for Lent?: PURITY is God’s work, not mine!

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Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was a young adult with a pure heart on fire for the LORD. He was truly a living tabernacle of JESUS in the middle of the world!

“Purify my heart
Let me be as gold
And precious silver

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold
Pure gold

Refiner’s Fire,
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord

I choose to be
Holy
Set apart for You, my Master,
Ready to do Your Will

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within,
And make me holy

Purify my heart,
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within”

–“Purify My Heart,” Brian Doerksen

Do I love others with a pure heart? How do my selfish intentions and how does my pride get in the way? Who cares about how others see me… when what really matters most is how God sees me?

Do I love God with a pure heart? Do I love myself with a pure heart… or do I simply want to make a god of myself and think highly of myself?

As I journey through Lent, the idea of purity of mind, heart, and body… has been on my, well, mind, heart, and body! (God designed us as truly integrated beings.)

This particular Lent, one of my sacrifices is not to listen to secular music or the radio. Instead, I am listening to either Christian/Catholic music or audiobooks.

Most of the songs on the radio are about romantic love, Eros (sexual desire), lust (disordered Eros), and incredible lows/highs. After just over a week of not listening to secular radio for a couple hours a day, I feel my mind focusing on higher ends, such as God’s loveĀ  and IDEAS that I have always wanted to ponder more deeply over!

I once heard a priest say that listening to a song on the radio is, in a sense, agreeing to let your emotions be influenced or controlled by whatever lyrics or melody you happen to hear. This priest’s “anti 24/7 entertainment” stance moved me.

I don’t want to simply experience life as a reaction to entertainment. I want to LIVE life as a journey that I venture! I do not want to be a product of society; I want to help shape society.

This Lent, I hope that my thoughts will gradually become more oriented towards the Divine. I hope that I will be more focused on living out my vocation as a disciple of Our Lord. I want to be centered on what is holy, noble, and pure… and most importantly, on Our Lord Who is Love.

Moreover, I increasingly realize that it is GOD who cleanses me from my worldly detachments and purifies me.

PURITY: not my work or power that is effecting the change within, but GOD’S work and power that cleanses me and makes me holy!

A living tabernacle, holding Jesus, in the middle of the world: now that’s what I want to be!

I pray that Our Lord keep the faith in me forever young.

saints in the making… together!

What is the most exciting aspect of being in a courtship?

The hugs and kisses? The friendship? The companionship? The romance?

I’d have to say it’s none of those. It’s the sanctity. That’s what’s most exciting!

Spiritual growth and holiness are at the center of my relationship with my boyfriend. Christ is at the core of our courtship. Not in a dull, mechanical way, but in an alive, organic way!

Do we ever get sidetracked and forget that? Sure.

(Life’s busy. And we’re two laypeople in the world, with in-the-world schedules and interests like everyone else… It’s not like we are monastic like St. Francis and St. Claire– though they are two awesome patrons of ours!)

Does it get hard not to get caught up in the “eros”? You bet.

(Just because we strive to be devoted Catholic twenty-somethings doesn’t mean we don’t feel physical desires normal to any romantic relationship! But instead of listening to the world, we try to be rebels and listen to Our Lord… and embrace chastity. Best decision for us.)

But when it all comes down to it, my boyfriend and I are building not upon our “eros,” but rather upon our “agape” — our Christ-like love for one another and our shared love for Christ!

Why? Because we figure that the “eros” is strong enough anyway. Focusing on it is unnecessary and tempting. However, building our “agape” is truly investing towards a possible vocation to marriage together! And stronger agape will make for stronger eros, so it’s win-win on both accounts!

It’s exciting to think that the whole purpose and wildly beautiful meaning of our relationship is to see Christ in one another, to love Him in one another, and to bring one another to Him.

We’re building up the kingdom of God… In one another!!

That’s something that will last beyond our time here on earth. How beautiful and how amazing of a gift is that task?! We are called to help one another to grow spiritually, to grow in holiness, to grow in sanctity!

Yes, my boyfriend is the cheese to my macaroni. In so many ways!

Yes, my boyfriend and I are each others’ first official sweethearts. (Don’t gag!)

And yes, we are best friends.

But best of all…

We are two saints in the making, together.

MISSION: HEAVEN.

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