From a Creighton Student's Perspective
August 17, 2012
Sophomore, History Major, Biology Minor, Pre-Med
The attitude this country has created towards marriage absolutely astonishes me. Marriage has become almost a recreation in a way; when it stops being fun, it can just be ended with little reasoning and minor consequences. A friend of mine said he once saw in a popular magazine an article titled, “You only get married for the first time once.” While this is mildly humorous, it accurately reflects how our society is beginning to view marriage.
The Pharisees in today’s Gospel reading seem to share the same view of marriage. While the Pharisees are also testing Jesus with their questioning, Jesus brings out very important commentary on the true meaning of marriage and why the Law of Moses speaks of divorce. He says, “’Because of your hardness of hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so,’” (Matthew 19:8). Jesus is essentially saying that because the Israelites were not open to love, they were allowed to divorce as they pleased.
The Catholic Church has always maintained that marriage is a sacrament that is both sacred and lifelong. To enter into marriage means you are bonded with your spouse until death do you part. So how has the hardness of our hearts transformed marriage from a lifelong commitment to one another to just something people do when they feel like it? I believe it is because we as a society have forgotten the fundamental meaning of love.
I once heard a priest define love as “choosing the good of the other.” So what does this mean in the context of marriage? Well first of all, love is a choice. Love is NOT a feeling. So many people make the mistake of thinking they love or do not love someone by the way they feel. This is simply not true. We can still choose to love someone even when we don’t feel like it. Secondly, love is about the good. What is the good? The good is God. God needs to play an important part in marriage. The things we do for our loved ones should be done with the goal of bringing our loved one into communion with God while they’re living and hopefully into Heaven when they die. And finally, love is about the other. We are not acting in our own self-interest but completely and totally for the other. Our purpose is to serve them in whatever ways we can and avoid using them for our own purposes.
So let's bring this all together. Love is making the decision through our thoughts and actions to bring the ones we love into closer communion with God. So perhaps if we begin to remember what it means to truly love, we can overcome our hardness of hearts and renew marriage into a lifelong commitment once again. Let us pray for all those married today that they may love each other as God has loved them.
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