Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

January 29, 2012

Justin McCarthy

Senior, Medical Anthropology Major

Dt 18:15-20
Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
1 Cor 7:32-35
Mk 1:21-28

Given my status as a college student, the majority of my peers are single in the sense that they are not married. I only preface my reflection this way because while I believe that what I will write may have validity for the wedded as well as the (for the most part) “aspiring,” I’m a firm believer in writing about what I know and being married is not included in this! So let’s commence.

Today’s Gospel reading 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 may seem problematic for those in the aforementioned “aspiring” category. While Paul does not condemn marriage as a sin, there can be no mistaking his evident concern for marriage’s tendency to replace God as the most important relationship in our lives. And I must concede that Paul has a point here. From a personal experience, I feel as though I can relate to what Paul is saying. After a difficult split from my High School sweetheart, I found more solace in my faith than ever before. I became acutely aware of my tendency to be “anxious about the things of the world” such as “how I may please my girlfriend” (Slightly modified 1Cor 7:33). Placing enormous pressure on both myself and my girlfriend to be perfect, we had sappily made one another our respective “worlds.” Just as a quick side, if your significant other tells you that you are the center of their world, don’t panic! They mean this quite romantically I’m sure, but get them to church or find them a hobby, because being somebody’s center means to be everything that person needs, and that is an impossible pressure.

I do not believe I stand alone in my tendency to fixate on the one I am in a relationship with. After my break up and subsequent disenchantment, I was disheartened by the detachment I had made myself from God. That interim between my last serious relationship and my current one was a blessing. Relationships end for a reason, yet too few people take the time between them to figure out why. Mine was my tendency to derive too much of my happiness from that one relationship, to put God on the back burner for the love that was right in front of me and tangible. This is the epitome of Paul’s concern and his warning about marriage.

If you have followed along thus far, here’s the pay off, essentially what I’ve been prefacing up to this point. A couple months after my break up, while attending a non-denominational service with a couple of my best friends, we were studying the Song of Songs. The author, Solomon, (depending on how you choose to interpret this book) is giving a clear depiction of God-pleasing love, sexuality and relationships in the context of marriage. At one point during the sermon, the pastor paused and said that his best advice for finding Mr. or Ms. Right is to:

 Run towards God and see who is running with you.

So good news for all of those readers who want Saturday little league, family dinners, evening foot massages, and couples dance classes-you still can! I believe that marriage done right, marriage with God at the center of it, marriage between two people both running towards God, is beautiful within the context of God’s design. Paul’s warning, as he writes in verse 35 is not “a restraint” but rather a reminder “of propriety” of our relationships. In fact, Paul may just be the ultimate Hitch!

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