Week 36 — Marriage and the Single Life
"Are you bound to a wife? Then do not seek your freedom. Are you free of a wife? If so, do not go in search of one." —1 Corinthians 7:27
"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body." —Gn 2:24
Jesus: I love every human being unconditionally and perfectly. It's impossible for Me to love you more. But because of sin you don't believe Me. I have united married couples as living witnesses of My unconditional love.
Couple: Jesus, we entered into this marriage "for better or worse." However, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mt 26:41). You would have to do a daily miracle for us to live as examples of unconditional love. Give us the grace...
Jesus: I'll do it.
Witness to God's miracle-power by publicly renewing your marriage vows.
"Thus they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, let no man separate what God has joined." —Mt 19:6
Jesus: A committed marriage never has been and never will be possible without Me. You must pray together as a couple to be in touch with Me, the Source of life in your marriage. Prayer is your lifeline.
Couple: Jesus, we have tried to pray together a few times, but we feel uncomfortable and besides...
Jesus: You're being robbed of your prayer time and eventually of your marriage. Fight for your prayer time together. Settle for any form of prayer. Make any sacrifices necessary.
Witness that prayer moves mountains.
"As the Church submits to Christ, so wives should submit to their husbands in everything." —Eph 5:24
Jesus: Wives, you are to obey your husbands cheerfully. This puts responsibility on their shoulders. Of course, your husbands will make mistakes, but let them learn the hard way, even if you have to suffer. Otherwise, your husbands will always act like little boys and never grow up.
Wives: Jesus, I'm not strong enough to submit. You were submissive, even to death on the cross, but I don't have that kind of strength.
Jesus: I will be your strength (Phil 4:13).
Witness by being different from the world.
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church. He gave Himself up for her." —Eph 5:25
Jesus: Husbands, you are to lay down your lives for your wives. When you and your wife are both tired but must care for the kids, you make the sacrifice. When you both need something but don't have enough money, you do without. Treat your wife as I treat the Church. She is precious.
Husbands: Jesus, why do I always have to be the one to suffer?
Jesus: What if I had asked that question?
Witness by taking up your daily cross.
"Some men are incapable of sexual activity from birth; some have been deliberately made so; and some there are who have freely renounced sex for the sake of God's reign. Let him accept this teaching who can." —Mt 19:12
Jesus: Brothers and sisters, I decided to live the single life. If I've given you the gift of the single life, decide to accept it. Don't think of yourself as un-married. Married people don't call themselves "un-single." Seek first My kingdom (Mt 6:33) and decide to be single for Me.
Single Person: Jesus, most people don't even recognize the vocation to be single for You.
Jesus: I recognize it. Forgive.
Witness by your purity.
"The married man is busy with this world's demands and occupied with pleasing his wife. This means he is divided." —1 Cor 7:33
Jesus: Brothers and sisters, My Church is being pushed into the background by the secularization of the world. I need lay single people to start corporations, impact education, and transform the media. I need full-time, unsalaried workers for My Church. I need priests and religious. I expect you to lead the way in renewing the face of the earth (Ps 104:30).
Single Person: Jesus, You're calling me to sacrifice my life.
Witness by a life of radical poverty and commitment.
"I am going into this with you for your own good. I have no desire to place restrictions on you, but I do want to promote what is good, what will help you to devote yourselves entirely to the Lord." —1 Cor 7:35
Jesus: Brothers and sisters, thank the Father for your married brothers and sisters. Serve them. They need your help desperately. Thank the Father daily for the vocation of the single life.
Single Person: I repent of comparing myself with others. Thank You for the privilege of being single for You.
Witness by constant joy and thanksgiving.
Excerpts from Scripture are taken from The New American Bible, copyright 1970 by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C., and are used by permission of the copyright holder. All rights reserved.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, July 13, 1995.
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati, July 25, 1995.
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