THE POWER OF MARRIAGE

From the Magnificat:  by Caryll Houselander,1954, was a British mystic, poet, and spiritual teacher.

“Obedience means the fullest possible surrender to God’s will,  the acceptance of his law as the irrevocable plan of our own lives, so that all our emotion and passion and tenderness are strengthened, restrained and made holy by it.

In the fact of loving at all, there is for us, fallen creatures, an element of suffering.  We realize the frailty of those we love, the million evil chances that threaten them.  We are haunted by the fear of loss, of parting.  By a strange paradox, falling in love brings us a new realization of our own nothingness, our helplessness to do, even to be, what we would, for the beloved.  ONLY THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY IN WHICH IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY GOD RE-CREATES TWO AS ONE, IN HIS OWN LOVE, CAN OVERCOME THIS NOTHINGNESS.  BUT WE LIVE IN A WORLD THAT IS DE-CHRISTIANIZED, DIVORCED  FROM LOVE’S VERY SELF; so  marriage, for most people, involves material hardship and self-denial if they would live in obedience to God.

The lover is like the craftsman: he has to give himself to years of discipline, of patient work and perseverance, in order to attain his skill.  There must be countless new beginnings, the exacting process of habit-forming, with its repeated denials of self, until at last his mind and eye and hand work in harmony on the material that he knows, as he knows his own soul.  Just so is the lot of the lover, who has life for his material, life that sin has twisted, so that it is like wood that is knotted and warped.  Yet on this material he acquires the skill that makes the craftsman an artist and enables him to fashion his own life into a thing of sheer beauty, and not his own life only, but the lives of those dear to him.  Inevitably, in the process, he will have enlarged and strengthened his heart and mind; his hand will have become sensitive and capable, his eyes will be the trained eyes that see the loveliness of the world, that others are blind to.  HIS HOME WILL BE THE LITTLE HOUSE THAT IS BUILT UPON A ROCK, WHICH STANDS FAST WHEN THE RAINS COME AND THE WINDS BLOW AND THE HOUSES BUILT UPON SAND ARE SWEPT AWAY.”

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