I once heard a woman say, “I think my husband was made out of mud. I was created from the rib of a human being. That explains everything.”
Men and women say lots of things about each other. However, what Sacred Scripture says about men and women is of paramount importance, especially in these days when secular culture is putting so much energy into changing the way we see ourselves and in comments about marriage and the way we relate to one another. This event regarding Divorce happened as a challenge to Jesus. Listen again to the challenge, and Jesus’ response.
The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
We are living with distortions relating marriage and gender today in secular culture, but Jesus also confronted them.
Let’s remember some basic facts that Sacred Scripture reveals to us. First, God loves us and is concerned for us as His Special Creation, in his image and likeness.
The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him.”
Next, God created us to be free, totally free. God understands that “Love” is a decision that must remain free. Otherwise, it cannot be love. Look at the freedom and respect God gave to man.
So the LORD God formed out of the ground
various wild animals and various birds of the air,
and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them;
whatever the man called each of them would be its name.
To name something is power over them. God gave freedom to man. Man made the choice. God respects that choice. Man has named all other creatures on earth and has dominion over them.
God made us free. Love is a choice. God loves us, but we must choose to love Him. Our decision. Our choice. This freedom to love is one of the most defining characteristics of mankind, and one of the least understood.
I want to speak about prayer, to help understand human love. Each us is free. All of us have these internal “voices”. Each one of these voices is you. All of us have voices inside us where we debate with ourselves; we judge and condemn others with these unspoken voices. We desire things and experience envy, jealousy and temptations in these voices. We criticize ourselves and others in these internal voices. Sometimes these internal voices can really get out of control when we get worked up. We experience anxiety and chaos that can become very distracting at times.
Let’s imagine a moment of prayer. Imagine that you are in the Adoration Chapel and you want to pray, but these voices are running wild, making it difficult to concentrate on the Blessed Sacrament in front of you. Imagine the Blessed Sacrament as the Face of God, because, that is, effectively, what it is. But you are in chaos and cannot focus.
Now, imagine saying to all these voices inside you, “Shut up!” to calm the voices, and replace “chaos” with “order”. And you turn to the Blessed Sacrament and slowly say, “I love you! I don’t have the words.” Then just shut up yourself, and live in this moment of your decision to love Him, in silence and peace.
There are many ways to pray, the Rosary, the “Our Father” or “Hail Mary”; the Mass, etc. In moments like this, declaring your love may be the most effective prayer in your life: Simply a declaration of love.” A decision to love; not an emotion. Emotions are not love. Love is not an emotion. Love is a decision; always a choice.
How does that feel to you?
Now, let’s return to marriage. I want to share with you how similar marriage is to prayer.
Imagine now that you are with your spouse. The internal voices are going crazy. It’s chaos. Perhaps you are in turmoil because you are experiencing frustration or anger with your spouse for whatever reason. Perhaps you have been distant to one another. For whatever reason, there may exist a barrier between you at that moment. Or perhaps not, and everything is fine.
Now, imagine grabbing the ears of your spouse and looking into their eyes. You say to your internal voices, “Shut up!” to control the chaos within. Then you say to your spouse, “I love you. I don’t have the words.” Then, shut up.
This moment is not about seduction or winning an argument. This is not the moment to say, “But you drive me crazy….!” No this moment is about your freedom and your choice to love this person. You are not seeking anything, or any conditional response. You are simply declaring your undying love for your spouse
Now, how would you feel if your spouse did this to you? That might be the way God would feel if you did it to Him. Love, like Faith, is a choice, a freely made decision, no matter what else is going on. Love is not an emotion or a feeling. Love is a decision, no matter what you feel.
If you understand this way of loving, you will have insights into why God made you and loves you. And you will begin to see how “Two become one flesh.”
In fact, if this love does not occur, I don’t know how two become one flesh. People don’t “fall out of love”; that doesn’t happen.
What really happens is that we simply don’t exercise our freedom to love. We don’t decide to love. Then our selfish emotions take over.
Divorce is not part of our faith. As Jesus says, Divorce occurs
Because of the hardness of your hearts.