Married Couples, Listen up . . .

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, Fr. Z’s Blog:

I’m tired of the whine from certain homosexualists and their agenda, to the detriment of concerns of people to adhere to God’s plan and nature and many other serious concerns which we face as a Church and society.

I was alerted today to a post at the blog of a priest, Fr. David Nix.  He posted an “Open Letter” to priests written by a married couple… a realmarried couple.  I reproduce it here.  My emphases.

Open Letter to our spiritual Fathers

Dear Fr. ___________,

I am so very thankful that you have given your life to be our spiritual father. I am grateful for the gifts you make available to us in the sacraments. We know you work tirelessly to keep everything balanced and running smoothly. For that, we are thankful. But we have to be honest and share our concerns and frustrations: We have heard more about the LGBTQ community and the acceptance of that more than we have ever heard about our own marriage.

Father, we struggle with communication, we struggle with infertility, we struggle with forgiveness over infidelity, we struggle with finances, we struggle with contraception and Natural Family Planning, we struggle with in-laws, we struggle with so much and yet feel so alone.

Please Father, give us some hope and encouragementlet us know what we are supposed to do. Please don’t have your answer be “you can get an annulment.” We don’t want to get out of our marriage; we just need you to let us know that sacrifice and suffering are part of marriage. Most of us have not heard what God’s plan for marriage is, yet we have heard that everyone is arguing about what constitutes a sacramental marriage.

It feels like we have been abandoned and left to figure it out in our own. As we strive to live God’s plan, we are burdened with what the society tells us. The culture screams its message, but the silence of the Church is at times louder than the screams.

Help us Father—for we know not what to do.

Love and blessings,
Your Sons and Daughters

We are entering into a dire stage of spiritual warfare over souls.

War is by nature messy and chaotic.  It is easy for officers to get distracted by tactics on a hill and lose sight of strategy on a front.  We priests and bishops must stay clear-eyed, smart, and faithful for everyone’s sake.

However, we need the support of lay people.  We need you to encourage and to fast and pray for us.  You have to make acts of reparation for our faults and defects.

In this coming battle, we priests will grow weary under the assaults from the agents of Hell and their earthly operatives.  So will you.

In this coming battle, the Church’s perennial teaching and the sacraments will be for us priests like the stone upon which Moses sat during the battle against the Amalekites, while you good lay people must stay on either side of us, like Aaron and Hur, holding up our weary arms so that the sword of Joshua shall prevail.

According to Sr. Lucia, the visionary of Fatima, Our Lady foretold that

“final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Do not be afraid, … because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.”

Married Couples.  Listen up.

It is not possible to squeeze everything into a blog post, or even a book, but here are a few words from my heart and experience.

First, please know that we priests understand that you face problems every day that might make a lot of us priests curl up in ball in a dark room.  However, you have the vocation to face those problems as married Catholics.  Just as we priests must call upon the graces that come from Holy Orders when we are in the thick of it, so to must you call upon the graces that come from matrimony and confirmation.

You have difficulties.  These difficulties are your road to heaven.   Remember always that your primary calling as married Catholics is to help your spouses get to heaven.  Hence, you must chose daily to embrace the life of your spouse with charity, the sacrificial love which seeks, first, the true good of the other.  This is what Christ modeled for his Spouse the Church while enduring His Passion and death.  Embrace the pains and make the choice for sacrificial love. To love is to choose.  Choose to love. You can choose love even when feelings or appetites or temptations push and pull.

Choose, as a couple, to love God more than you love each other.  Only when God is the true king of your two hearts, can your one married heart beat properly.  Only when you love God first, can you love and treat each other and your children properly.

Stay close to the sacraments.  That means that you have to make good and regular examinations of your consciences and then GO TO CONFESSION.  Go together.  Go separately.  GO!  Don’t allow mortal sin to cloud your intellect and weaken your will or give a chink for the Devil to pry at.  Hence, also use sacramentals.  The Devil really hates them.

Make your home, however grand or humble, into your “domestic church”.  Just as a church should be filled with beautiful reminders of heaven and the saints and angels, so too should your home.  Just as a church should be filled with prayer, so too should your dwelling place. Traditionally, church buildings will have over their doors inscriptions like, “House of God and Gate of Heaven”.  This, too, is your ideal. Pray at meals.  Pray when you rise and rest.  Especially say the Rosary together, perhaps holding hands.  The other side of prayer is silence.  

Be humble in consideration of your vocations and your own human abilities.  However, be confident that, as the Father’s adopted chosen children in Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Trinity whose love your lives reflect will give you every grace you need to fulfill your vocations in obedience to His commands and the commandments of the Church.  God’s commands and will are not mere “ideals”, which some today falsely claim cannot be attained by everyone.  They can be and are realized, and have always been attained through the millennia, by people just like you.  God doesn’t impose anything that is impossible.

Finally, some quick points.

We could all avoid a lot of sins and a lot of conflict by keeping our mouths shut more often.  Weigh your words.

Be cheerful.  Joy is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit.  When you cannot detect or show joy, that’s probably a sign that you have spiritual maintenance to do.  This joy is not the blithering gaiety of the foolish: risus abundant in ore stultorum.

Speak well of and kindly to each other.

Read Scripture.  Read especially Ephesians about spouses.  Pay close attention to Paul’s wise admonition, “Let not the sun go down upon your anger.”

Ask your Guardian angels to help you in every conflict.

In charity, you must strive always make the sacrifice needed for the other’s true good.

Thank God – on your knees – for the gift of the vocation of marriage.  Really.  Get down on your kneesand say, “Thank you, God, for giving me my vocation and my spouse.”  Never forget that you two are one flesh now.  You are you and you are also “we”.

Be who are are, and never think again about being anything else until the day you draw your last breath.

Eat meals together, at a table.  Talk.  And then let there be silences.

When you look at your spouse and at your children, consciously remind yourself that each one is a gift.  And if you do not, in sorrow, have children, remind yourself that God knows you better than you know yourselves and that He doesn’t allow burdens without giving the strength to bear them.  You may have another path when it comes to children.

Anything worth doing well in life requires suffering, patience and practice.  You have to practice being married, by living marriage.  You will be under attack, so you must plan your tactics for when you being to suffer, and you will suffer.  Embrace your crosses.

Listen to the good advice of older people.

When real trials come or sudden frustrations strike, say what Job said and say it with a smile: “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

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2 comments to Married Couples, Listen up . . .

  • Bernadette

    When I had trouble with my marriage I prayed to St Joseph and asked him to carry the burden for me. I told him that his shoulders were stronger than mine because he had the strength to carry Jesus. That was more than twenty years ago and although the road has been rough St Joseph has never abandoned me. I owe my marriage to his help and to the Sacraments, God’s wonderful ways of helping us to lead holy lives. Pray to St Joseph, anything you ask him for he will help you with.

  • Tg

    Good advice. Too bad church leaders are causing confusion. Just want everyone to feel welcomed instead of telling people the truth.

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