Daily Reflection
October 8th, 2006

Larry Gillick, S.J.

Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
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We are praying every time we bump into creation as a gift and as a ponderable. We have many “whys” and “what’s this for?” We are stumped often by the unanswerables about our own persons and certainly the persons and personalities who surround us.

We are preparing to return to celebrate the Eucharist together with such mysterious creatures as these other human beings seem to be. Some of those standing and kneeling with us are or have been married, perhaps you the reader are engaged or married already. This other, (very significant other) continues to be a mystery and perhaps even more than that one happy day of your wedding. We who are not married experience our own mysteries of course, so we pray these days to receive love, life, mystery all which are somehow wonderful. We pray for the fidelity to continue God’s creative love in whatever relationships we find ourselves. Those relationships are also part of God’s creating love.


There are many jokes and one-liners which come from today’s First Reading. “The two become one and the rest of their lives they work out which one they will be.” “God put man asleep and gave the woman to fruitlessly and eternally try to wake him up.” This reading is too serious for jokes however.

The early chapters of Genesis have many stories attempting to explain God, creation, human beings, and community order. It is somewhat like the authors are painting a huge picture of how things were and why they are not now and how the picture got cut up into puzzle-parts, and what is God going to do about all that.

Genesis seems to satisfy the human desire to have basic “Big Questions” answered. The whole question of how everything came to be and why this and how come that? One big question gets answered in our First Reading. No, it is not why man was created first! Actually it is a micro-creation narrative within the second creation narrative of Genesis. Why there are two creation stories in the first book of the bible is a good one and has a good answer which I do not have room about which to write, just trust me. God created all living things, but the highest creation is the human person. This person was presented with all the other forms unlike his own and was dissatisfied. God saw this dissatisfaction, as God saw everything, and saw it as “good”. Yes, that is what I meant to write! God saw that human beings would search for completion, satisfaction and saw this searching as “very good”.

In fashioning “woman” God gave the man a closeness to himself, but just not quite, and this form of separation or distinctiveness would form the framework for the real meaning of human love. a revelation of God’s love, but not a substitute or replacement for that love. They will “cling” to each other, embracing their physically-different bodies, while their search for true union continues toward God. Longing is a blessing and God’s love desires us to experience finite love as so many ways to put the puzzle back into its original union. In short, Genesis is the story of the necessity for order in relationships and how God is working things out.

The Pharisees have a “big question” for Jesus in today’s Gospel. Divorce is the topic, but the question is intended to provoke Jesus into countermanding the Law of Moses. Jesus answers by going back before Moses by quoting lines from our First Reading for today. The trap which the Pharisees set failed. We do not hear any more on the topic. There is a little discussion afterward in the house however.

Jesus finishes His teaching in the presence of His disciples. Divorce, that is the arbitrary dissolving of a true union in marriage, is against the order of things. The puzzle continues being broken by divorce; marriage is the commitment to bringing that union closer. This wonderful and interesting discussion is broken up when mothers and fathers are bringing their children to Jesus. The disciples desire to continue this interesting conversation, but Jesus becomes upset and invites the children to come to Him to be touched, blest and welcomed. These teachings on such hot topics as the importance of union in community, are difficult. The children represent the simplicity of heart and mind, needed on the part of those who would be a part of the “kingdom” or new order which Jesus was initiating.

I pause to insert a quotation meant to stimulate, confuse, and accept:

“There is not a woman in the world, the possession of whom, is as precious as that of the truths which she reveals to us by causing us to suffer.”

Now if I had written that myself I would not have used the word “possession”, but rather the “reception of whom”. Also, the personal pronoun is interchangeable. So now that we have that out of the way, the important words remain. “Truths” and “Causing” and “Suffering” are heavy concepts. Those differences about which we prayed earlier are so important. These differences are what both attract and cause “suffering”. Henry Higgins, in My Fair Lady sings plaintively, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” He does not like the suffering, his love for Liza Dolittle is causing him. The “suffering” is change, growth, manhoodness, sensitivity, and basically his humanness. He, and we, would rather grow laterally and pretend the growth is profoundedly.

Marriage and any true loving relationship between a woman and a man is a gift from God which keeps on giving. A loving relationship, and especially that blest in Marriage, is a covenant of continuing God’s creation. The two commit themselves to bringing forth life within the other. They say “Yes!” I will assist God in creating, but not completing, you. I will accept your assisting God’s creating of me. I will accept the process of suffering you will cause me in the process of God’s creating me through you.

This is how God intends to put the puzzle together with all these strange-appearing pieces with various angles and dents. Jesus, by blessing the little ones, invites all of us to lives of “growing up” and “growing-within”. Little ones love what’s new, different, and puzzling. These readings are not directly a denouncement of divorce, nor a statement about the necessity for everyone to marry. The readings are about God’s ways of creating us and the necessity of our being available to all these ways.

“The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who search for his love.” Lamentations 3, 25

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