That We may be One
By Corrinne May
In John 18:21, Jesus prays that we may “all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me”. The Lord yearns for our unity, for the Body of Christ to be one.
God’s love is unitive. Satan, on the other hand, seeks to divide us; to divide us from God’s saving love, to divide us from each other and to divide our sense of self.
We see the results of Satan’s divisive work in the increasingly common fragmentation of marriages and families, in the contraceptive mentality leading to the objectification of persons, in the confusion surrounding gender and sexual orientation, even in the isolation of individuals through the distractions of technology.
Sr. Lucia, the oldest of the three shepherd children who saw the Virgin Mary at Fatima, warned that the final battle between God and Satan would be waged against Marriage and the Family.
By attacking the foundation stones of our society, the evil one wreaks havoc. Thank God that the battle has already been won by our Lord Jesus. But while we await Parousia, we are still in the throes of this battle.
I see the scars of broken marriages and broken families all around me. One of my closest childhood friends has harboured deep anger towards her absent father ever since her parents’ divorce when she was a teen. I see her passing on her pain to her son through the shreds of her own tattered marriage. Two of my aunts have been through divorce and three of my cousins have had their marriages wrecked by divorce. I feel not just for the spouses, but for the children of each broken marriage. There are no victors when Satan divides what God has joined together.
Marriage requires a lot of love. Not the type that is sung about in fluffy love songs on the radio, but the type of love that requires one to sacrifice and suffer for the sake of one’s beloved. The type of love that the Lord has for us; we are called to live that love within our marriages. Our spouse is often the one that challenges us the most and provides us the training ground in which to practise that self-sacrificial love.
Perhaps that’s why God chose them to be in our lives.
But we are not meant to take this marital journey by ourselves. I believe that having a community of supportive, loving friends and fellow families is essential to helping a marriage grow strong.
One of the wonderful ways that Kavin and I have grown our marriage is through our participation in Marriage Encounter. We had a great ME weekend experience, but that was not the best part of it. I believe that the best part was finding a community of married couples that have become our friends. Through our monthly ‘love circle’ meetings with our fellow ME attendees, we have grown together with the other couples in discovering more about ourselves and our spouses and realising that our challenges are shared with other married couples.
There is much joy in knowing that we do not take this journey of the sacrament of matrimony by ourselves, but that the journey is also being taken on by so many other couples facing the same types of challenges.
For the God who lets the wheat and weeds grow together tells us “my grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness”. (2 Cor 12:9)
I believe that prayer is the other important aspect of helping marriages to grow stronger. The Sacrament of Matrimony is a covenant that the spouses have with God. Hence, God has to be at the centre of the marriage. Prayer is a tangible way that we can invite God to be at the centre of our marriage. By taking the time to pray as a family, to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist as a family and to pray our family rosary together, our hearts are attuned to God’s will for us as a family.
We strengthen the bonds between ourselves and God so that we can be one with Him who yearns to be one with us.