TOB Tuesday: Marital Spirituality
Yesterday was the last of the “Into the heart series” by Christopher West. It focused on marital spirituality. He expressed this spirituality by saying that the couple who are now one body open up that body to the indwelling of the spirit of God, and thus become an expression of loving as God loves.
It’s about opening up to the gift that makes men and women who they are called to be. He then extrapolated this to Christian life, in that all Christian life is called to marital spirituality as the bride of Christ. A direct mirror of this is the Eucharist where, as the body of Christ, we open up to receiving the life given us by His flesh and blood. He then touched again on contraception how every act of intercourse should be opening to saying ‘Lord, let your will be done’ just as we want to say it in every other aspect of our lives, to surrender our fertility to the Lord, and to safeguard the unity of the unitive and procreative love in marriage. That kind of authentic love is oriented towards every true good.
Given were 3 ways to live this life:- prayer, the Eucharist and penance.
He explained that prayer can progress as a genuine dialogue of love to the point of rendering the person wholly possessed by the divine, by the Holy Spirit to the point of where the way we would move think and have our being would be drawn straight from the heart of God – and I found that intense. To be Holy Spirit possessed would be to let the spirit do what He wills and to let myself partake in His will, where trusting God comes in. And we have already established how difficult that is for me, but not for lack of trying.
The Eucharist is the sacrament of the bride and the bridegroom, were we as the church open up to receive the life of the bridegroom, and penance leads to healing. One part of penance which has been impressed upon me lately, he explained so well, that regular confession of venial sins helps to form our conscience, free us from concupiscence and be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the spirit— purgative, illuminative and unitive.
Our standard should be perfection, where we strive to it. Even if the Lord’s happy with us and loves us where we are He wants more for us. His love compels us to continue on the journey to holiness. C.W also stated that one other way of staying true to the path of purity is of throwing ourselves under Mary’s mantle – totus tuus- like JPII. Now this for me was a new way of expressing why we honour Mary, that as the mother of Jesus her womb gave Jesus flesh and form; as such we encounter Jesus through her womb, that we want to model ourselves in the image of Christ and what better way than to use the mould that formed Him?
As the virtue of chastity/ continence is essential in living TOB, these ways can help us and guide us, for by ourselves we will likely fail, we have to embrace self-mastery, which is difficult and a long and exacting process. But through it, we can experience joy through suffering; agony and ecstasy… maybe like Jesus on the cross. The sacrifices of chastity do not impoverish our expressions of love, they make them more intense and real.