Our liturgy today brings us to face one of the purposes of marriage, namely, lasting and satisfying love and companionship. We all know that marital relationships today suffer from strain. Too many spouses have failed to become each other’s friends. Sex bonding alone does not hold a man and a woman together. Heart bonding is the real glue to marriage. Eugene O’Neill wrote a play, “The Great God Brown,” in which he says “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The love of God is the glue.”
His love is not a river that drowns the tender reed. The husband and wife are not meant to be competitors, using love to subdue each other. In many ways their love is like the buddy system from the camping days of their youth. The spouses swim in their own waters, casting a warm and protective eye on each other. Then at the moment of need, one’s hand can reach out to the other. They can be like “cloud castles” — all different, always changing. Just as clouds in the sky never cease to enchant the beholders, so also husband and wife.
Good marriages are based on friendship that draws power from the prayer life and spiritual depth of the spouses. When husbands and wives commit themselves to God as the third member of their relationship, they have the mental and spiritual resources to solve their problems, increase their love for their children and feel a profound understanding of how the mystery of marriage is meant to work. Such a vision heals any sense of helplessness, for it causes each spouse to use their healing powers until the warmth of inner joy surrounds their hearts.
The future of America and the Catholic Church depends on the exceptional health of excellent marriages. Without healthy marriages the fate of children is threatened and the very existence of family life will be under fire. O Father in heaven, come to the aid of the millions of marriages and families in our dear country. As I see every Wednesday in the chapel at Relevant Radio where I celebrate Mass, I feel the faith of people who believe, “Without Christ I can do nothing.” Such an attitude is just what the world needs to deal with the bedrock of culture, with the dynamism of marriage and the family. I join Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops on the family that their hope for this mission will astonish anyone who doubts that it can be done.
No other cause should get in the way of healing marriage and family. Correct what is needed with flair, energy and the interior joy that makes this hallowed tradition of America and the church. Jesus, Mary and Joseph formed the holiest family in history. The Mother Mary was sinless, the father Joseph was a saint. And the little boy was the Son of God. What a moment in family history! Praise the Lord!
Norbertine Fr. McBride is a popular lecturer and author of more than 40 books.