Skip to comments.Advice for the Married: Donít Forget the Gifts in Strange Packages
Posted on 01/22/2018 8:26:56 AM PST by Salvation
In his book Humility Rules (which I think should be read as Humility Rules!), Fr. J. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B. offers some insight into the humility of patience, forgiveness, and mercy.
Fr. Wetta recalls a situation in which he was asked to preach at the wedding of his best friend. As a monk, he was not accustomed to in preaching in parish settings and so sought the advice of an older monk:
I went looking for Fr. Luke. He is the founder of our community and has seen pretty much everything a monk can see. I found him asleep in a chair in the calefactory [a warmed sitting room in a monastery]. Wake up, Father, I said, I need something wise to say at my buddys wedding.
Fr. Luke opened his eyes, look around the room for a moment, and then said, Tell them that there will come a day when he will want the window open and she will want the window closed. Then he went back to sleep.
Fr. Wetta observes,
So, true love is more about endurance than it is about chocolates and teddy bears. We prove our love at precisely those moments when the people we love test our patience, put a strain on our kindness, and tempt us to anger. Love is truly loveand not just infatuationwhen it proves itself in the crucible of suffering (Humility Rules, pp. 59-60).
Humility Rules is a wonderful book, well worth reading for its humor, wisdom, and whimsical art. The advice offered is not all that different from what I offer to pre-Cana couples, but Fr. Wetta presents it with more humor.
Patience, magnanimity, and mercy are essential for any relationship, let alone marriage.
Married couples give each other many gifts. Some of them come wrapped in obvious packages such as companionship, intimacy, and completion. Others come in strange packages.
Indeed, a spouse can give his/her partner many opportunities to know what it means to forgive. This is a gift, however strange its package, because Jesus teaches that if we forgive we will be forgiven but if we do not then we may go to Hell.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours (Matt 6:14-15).
Without forgiveness, it is pretty hard to enter glory; with it we stand a good chance.
It is the same with mercy. Jesus says,
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Mat 5:7).
Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful (James 2:13).
As anyone who has been married for any length of time knows, spouses give each other ample opportunities to practice mercy. Indeed, the debate about the window that Fr. Luke described above may well occur in the limousine ride from the church to the reception hall! This, too, is a gift in strange package. If I show mercy then I will be shown mercy on judgment dayand were all going to need mercy then, lots of it!
Even the difficult parts of marriage, the gifts in strange packages, help to sanctify the husband and wife. St. Paul reminds us, And we know that, for those who love God, all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).
Indeed they do. Dont forget the gifts in strange packages.
Monsignor Pope Ping!
Any advice on making sandwiches?
Too bad that priests don’t have any personal experience with being married to a woman.
Oh, they get lots of stories from married people, believe me.
The Jesuit could give you all the theological explanations and theory. The married couple taught the practical stuff.
“What? You have to have been married to a woman to know what the malle female issues are? What about all the marriages you have seen in life and the incredible experiences of hearing about marriages in the counseling of parishioners and the intimate knowledge from confession?”
Then does being Catholic and attending church regularly give you a practical insight into the experiences of clergy?
Maybe being a prison inmate gives one valuable insights into the views of law enforcement?
Or perhaps going to the hospital qualifies a person to speak authoritatively on matters of healthcare?
I’m sorry, but the vicarious and anecdotal experiences of celibate and single individuals is simply not as informed as is the understanding of someone who has been married.
I tell you this: I’ve had seven kids and anyone who has never had a child isn’t going to be credible with me if they try to tell me anything about something they’ve never experienced.
My never married, child less sister has ALL the advice on how to raise kids/take care of your man. Just ask her ( actually, she’ll just let you know what you are doing wrong, wrong, wrong)
Priests should not be married.
To perform their duties properly, it’s a 24/7 routine. They do much more than celebrate the Sacred Mass.
The last thing they need and the congregation needs is for him to be distracted by a family. That’s assuming the family is a normal one. Think of what happens with a dysfunctional family.
I can’t understand why so many people, many of whom are not even Catholics themselves, get all bent out of shape about Priests being married.
If a man wants to serve on the Altar and be married, he can become a Deacon.
Incidentally, there are plenty of married people who get paid to council others in their troubled marriage who give extremely biased and incorrect ‘advice’. They do more harm than good.
“I cant understand why so many people, many of whom are not even Catholics themselves, get all bent out of shape about Priests being married.”
I am not bent out of shape about priests not being married. What irks me is that someone with no experience in a marriage relationship is being incorrectly invested with the mantle of authority to speak about marriage relationships.
It’s like someone telling a pilot all about flying an F-16 while having never before flown in a plane.
You might be able to speak about the theory of flight but you’re never going to understand what it’s actually like to fly in an F-16.
All i can say then is those who feel it is critical to get advice from someone who is or has been married, then it is best to find a secular marriage counselor. Or a married pastor from another denomination.
I suppose you would have to work with Priests over a long enough period of time to understand the demands placed upon him. And these demands many times come up in the middle of the night or other very inopportune times. I guess I could also use your F-16 analogy here as well, no?
Priests (generally) have no experience whatsoever in the discipline of Chemistry. Does that mean he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he advises a student to study and do his homework in order to get good grades?
Advice from a married person tends to be tinged by their own experience.
No one has heard more of the most intimate stories from the married than the priest in the confessional and therefore he tends to be more experienced than anyone. Plus he is objective.
Advice I gave my son when he got married: Give her flowers for no special occasion and learn to say Yes, dear sincerely. Celebrating 40 years of our marriage this year. Note, the biggest strain on a marriage is hanging wallpaper together
Just be sure to check both sides of the meat, or cheese, that you put in. My husband and I have been married for 59 years (next month) and ONCE, back in the early years, I put a slice of bologna in his sandwich and sent him off to work. I must have made that sandwich early in the morning and the slice of meat was the last in the package and still had the label clinging to the underside! 59 years later, he still checks both sides of whatever I put in his sandwich. He doesn't say anything. He just checks. LOL
Indeed! We learned not to do that about 7 years in!
Yep, you nailed it with this one “You might be able to speak about the theory of flight but youre never going to understand what its actually like to fly in an F-16.”
Besides, the Bible describes the leader of the Church as a ‘husband of one wife.’ Nowhere does it say a leader must remain in celibacy, but it does indicate they can be married. - 1 Timothy 3
Secondly, God compares the Church to marriage. It would be absolutely silly to then say ‘but the leader of the Church can’t do this.’
Plus we have the permanent deacons who can step up to the home plate.
We also have priests of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches who have wives and families. The one condition is that the man married first before becoming a priest. Bishops have ro come from the monestary.
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