This week, we walked through the virtue of hope! Thank the good Lord for hope, as hope is necessary in each step of life, and certainly in every vocation – in a special and significant way, all its own.
Despair and discouragement loom around us, tempting us to believe that it will never get any better than the slump we’re in right now. It’s often in these moments that the devil creeps in, to whisper to our weakness, telling us of how happiness has escaped us eternally. Thankfully, we don’t rely on our own strength, but on the strength of God, which leaves no room for doubt or despair. In him is hope eternal – a path for the weak and broken-hearted.
Ordering Our Marriage In Hope
Hope comes from God, but we must open our hearts to receive this gift. The Father wants us to ask him for an increase in hope, and this extends to our marriages as well. There are so many small moments in marriage to embrace and cling to hope with one another, so that in the big moments of testing, we have practiced making hope habitual.
The key is seeing the hand of God working in all things in our lives. There are so many small miracles, tucked into the simple and ordinary moments of everyday, that we often pass right by them, unrecognized. Then, in moments of crisis, we ask “Where is God?” We fail to see that he has been with us all along, perhaps beckoning us back from the cliff we were gravitating toward.
Distance between couples often reflects a distance between the couple and God. When a husband and wife make the decision to come together on a regular basis and reflect on what God is doing in their lives – what he is teaching them and asking of them, and when they are submissive to what they hear from him, hope lives in them!
Hope Does Not Dissapoint Us
Rejoice in suffering? This sounds nuts! Who in their right mind can rejoice in suffering? Certainly, the answer to that, proven by the saints and martyrs, and Christ himself, is Christians. The only way to accept and embrace suffering – is through hope. Hope is the virtue which elevates even suffering, ordering it toward the good. Through Christ, even suffering has purpose – and that gives us hope. Our God is not a madman and we are not living in a universe of chaos.
I remember Padre Pio once saying how the work of God is a finely woven tapestry, which we often see from the underneath. From our perspective, the tapestry makes no sense, as a mess of loosely crossed strings and knots. But when it is finished and turned toward us, so that we can see the top of the tapestry, it is perfectly splendid and each woven piece is exactly as it should be. I cling to the hope of this image.
I love the image of my spouse as a slayer of dragons that creep into our marriage and our family. It paints the picture of a great and powerful knight, who is also a wily and skillful master. Many marriages allow the once-coveted image of their spouse as respectable, honorable, and noble, to slip away through the years.
Disappointment creeps in when we long for control in the marriage, and our spouse no longer fits into the puzzle we begin constructing. This is when I need to step back and ask myself what dragons I need to slay in my own heart. Control and pride are often at the core.
Fulfilled In Christ
Only Christ can fulfill us – “Our hearts are restless until they rest in him.” This sounds like a no-brainer, but we need to be reminded of it all the time – especially in marriage. What we are longing for and hoping to find in our spouse, is in fact Christ, and we will always meet with disappointment, at one time or another, when we expect our spouse to give us what only Christ can.
Rather, we must seek to walk to Christ together. We can strive to bring Christ to our spouse, through our actions, in every moment. This can only be done when we are in Christ, and he in us.