Discovering the Love of God through Marriage

Lisa Shefferly-Gillay - T5

\"Lisa

The love God has for his people is intense, all-consuming, a torrential force of love that is poured out from His heart and on to us. His love is not deserved, earned, or ours to claim as if we were entitled to it. No, it is a freely given gift from a good and merciful God who loves us like crazy.

Flesh and Bones Rock!

As we read in Genesis 2:18-24, in the beginning God created Man. Yet, Man was all alone, and God said it was not good for him to be alone. The animals were not like him; they were not made in the image of God. So, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and from his side He formed Woman.

I can just see Adam saying Woohoo! I have found my other self! Here is one who is flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone! I can also see Woman winking at him as she watched him with joyful amusement. Eve completed him and made him whole. He found his pleasure in relationship to his other self.

God created man in His own image, the Divine image, as we read in Genesis 1:26-27. This Man could now have an intimate relationship with God, just as Christ does with His Church. In Genesis 2:21-23 we see how God took Man, a whole being, separated him into male and female, and brought them together to make Man whole again. So, in the beginning, God willed that the two become one.

Husband as a Type of Christ and Wife as a Type of Church

Ephesians 5:23-30 says that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head and savior of His Church. Here, Jesus tells husbands how to be to their wives; as He is to His Bride. Though God has no need for anything or anyone, He is very happy to have a relationship with His body, the Church. We might say this Body, the Bride, completes the Headship, the Groom, which is Christ Jesus, the Lord. The Groom loves His Bride and shows it through His sacrificing love by suffering to give all of Himself for her benefit. Nothing is held back. His love perfects Her and makes Her one with Him. Could we then say that a man’s all-sacrificing, enthusiastic love would therefore perfect his bride, his beloved, the one who he is joined together with in the Sacrament of Matrimony? I believe yes!

What woman would not fall head over heels for the man who would cherish her above all other relationships, above all other things? Just as a sinner turns with great gratitude to our merciful Lord when he realizes and accepts the gift of God’s merciful love, would not a woman also turn fully to her husband when she realizes the sacrificing, selfless love her husband gives to her? Again, yes!

What Does This Love Look Like?

How can we recognize it? This love can be defined as the giving to another even when one desires it for himself instead. It is the forgiving of another even when wronged; even woefully wronged. It is recognized when we truly live out Saint Paul\’s definition of love (Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). This love exists even when one feels the need for the strength of God Himself to carry their cross of love. Again, it also exists when they feel the need to go to God on their knees begging for mercy to carry on even more than they already do, until God wills the suffering and sacrificing to pass.

The Sacrament of Matrimony and all that it holds is such a beautiful, beautiful mystery to me. I understand as much as has been revealed to me, yet vaguely do I understand this love that God has for us and His desire to share it in the love between a husband and wife. I will always strive and do my best to obtain it completely in this life with my husband before we both join our Lord at the wedding feast of the Lamb. Our blessed Sacrament is meant for the perfecting of both of us to become saints so that we can glorify God, along with our children, for all eternity.

Love between spouses makes the cross of marital love so much sweeter to carry, but is oh so bitter when that cross is borne alone in a marriage. Only by the grace of God can one carry it. The good news is that the Church promises special graces for the Sacrament of Matrimony for those who have celebrated it. There is no other union stronger, more intimate than the two who have become one. This Sacrament is so strong and so intimate that the intercessory prayers of one spouse for the other holds within it the very power of God, and can move impossible mountains and obstacles. It is the same as the union of God with His Bride, the Church, a holy and indissoluble oneness of husband and wife. With God in the center of a husband and wife, the full power of God exists for the salvation of each spouse.

Yes, the love of God for His people is an intense, all-consuming, and a torrential force of love. It is in the heat of this sacrificial fire of love that the two shall become one.

O Lord God, grant me the fullness of your sacramental graces of love for this marriage I share with my Beloved, for the times when we are together and for when we are apart from one another. Help me to love as You do, to give as You do, to be You in this marriage You have given me, for the sake of my Beloved. Amen.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

9 thoughts on “Discovering the Love of God through Marriage”

  1. Pingback: 12 Latin Words that Shaped the Faith - BigPulpit.com

  2. Pingback: Pastoral Sharings: " The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time" | St. John

  3. I don’t disagree with anything you say, your points are all well defined in our faith, but I will be honest that it leaves me with a real sadness. I’m happy for you that you have been mightily blessed, but it feels rather desolate to someone like me on the outside looking in.

    1. Why are you thanking me? I told you that your article made me sad & desolate.

      If “It is in the heat of this sacrificial fire of love that the two shall become one” then what sort of love is at work when the one is split back into two? I was only 47 when I found my husband dead on the floor…I thought we would grow old together.

      Marriage is but a part of life it is not all of it. God can and does bless us in marriage but God is too gracious to only bless those who are already blessed by abundant circumstances…He also pours out His abundant graces on widows and orphans.

    2. Last year I posted a column here and shortly thereafter experienced a severe injury that prevented me from typing out responses to peoples comments to my post. I wanted to reply but couldnt. With that in mind, I genuinely hope that some awful thing has no occurred that prevented you from responding to my comment 20 days ago.

      The idea that the Sacrament of Matrimony is a genuine good (among other goods like Priestly vocations and Religious life) is something that I doubt anyone would argue with but to extend the idea that a woman in a marriage relationship is “perfected” is an idea that is unsupported in scripture and Catholic practice as I have ever seen it.

      1Cor 7:14 “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.”

      “Sanctify” can mean to redeem, set apart as holy, consecrate but perfection is not a part of any definition I found.

      As described in your column, you have indeed been mightily blessed and God uses all situations to display different facets of His wonderful and deep nature. It is but one way that God chooses to bless people and I would argue that it is more alienating than edifying to infer that your experience results in “perfection” more than anyone else’s.

      At any given time, many good Catholic adults who have discerned a vocation to marriage are waiting (patiently and otherwise) for God to show them the person who would be a worthy partner. 28% of Catholic couples divorce. Marriages end in death every day. Many many people struggle in marriages where the spouse is disinterested, addicted, abusive or seriously mentally ill.

      I would venture that many of us feel a deep yearning to have a marriage like the one you have been blessed with. So while your article did mention some defendable truths to it, I found it an extra, unnecessary twist of the knife to have you add this seemingly indefensible idea of “perfection”.

    3. Lisa Shefferly-Gillay

      Yes, I did have a problem with answering. I had lost my
      notes in how to reply and couldn’t for the longest time figure it out until I found someone who knew how.

      In regards to your comment…”So you being married “perfects” you? because your husband’s love is all-sacrificing and enthusiastic? Gee thanks, what does that say about the rest of us? So what happens to this perfection if a husband decides he doesn’t love his wife anymore? Does it change her back to her unperfected state?”…In reply I say that I was talking about Jesus and the Church, not necessarily about a man and his wife. It sure would be nice to be married to a guy like that (and we women sure ain’t no walk in the park at
      times either).

      Jesus is our model and what we should strive for. We most certainly are not perfect though He has given us a command to be just that (Matthew 5:48). How many of us dare to take up Our Lord on that, eh? I inserted my notes in the
      paragraph below where you wanted my comment. I hope this answers your inquiry into my thoughts. As far as the state of my current marriage, it is best not to assume.

      Ephesians 5:23-30 says that the husband is the head
      of the wife as Christ is the head and savior of His Church. Here, Jesus tells husbands how to be to their wives; as He is to His Bride. Though God has no need for anything or anyone, He is very happy to have a relationship with His
      body, the Church. We might say this Body, the Bride (the Church), completes the Headship, the Groom (Jesus), which is Christ Jesus, the Lord. The Groom (Jesus) loves His
      Bride (the Church) and shows it through His sacrificing love by suffering to give all of Himself (Jesus) for her (the Church) benefit. Nothing is held back. His (Jesus) love perfects Her and makes Her (the Church) one with Him (Jesus). Could we then say that a man’s all-sacrificing, enthusiastic love would therefore perfect his bride, his beloved, the one who he is joined together with in the Sacrament of Matrimony?
      I believe yes! (And yes, this is possible as we see in the words of Jesus…“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48)

      Thank you, Nurse Tammy, for your comments. I too am a nurse, a NICU nurse.

  4. Lisa this is awesome. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I especially like how husband and wife complete each other, and that praying for one another is so powerful. We pray for each other, but now I realize how and why it is so powerful. The prayer at the end is beautiful. I want to be the best husband I can be!

    1. Lisa Shefferly-Gillay

      Thank you, David, for your comment. For you to say you want to be the best husband you can be after reading this article is so cool! It sounds like you already are.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.