A priest with whom I once worked often commented on a significant flaw in our culture: the unwillingness or inability to commit. He wasn’t just talking about sex and marriage. Jobs, friendships, volunteer work, college majors. And he’s right. When the options are so many, it can be difficult to settle into one, then simmer with envy as others get a more choice portion of life.
In this section, Pope Francis speaks of marriage, and of finding the right time to make that commitment:
132. To opt for marriage in this way expresses a genuine and firm decision to join paths, come what may. Given its seriousness, this public commitment of love cannot be the fruit of a hasty decision, but neither can it be postponed indefinitely. Committing oneself exclusively and definitively to another person always involves a risk and a bold gamble. Unwillingness to make such a commitment is selfish, calculating and petty. It fails to recognize the rights of another person and to present him or her to society as someone worthy of unconditional love. If two persons are truly in love, they naturally show this to others. When love is expressed before others in the marriage contract, with all its public commitments, it clearly indicates and protects the “yes” which those persons speak freely and unreservedly to each other. This “yes” tells them that they can always trust one another, and that they will never be abandoned when difficulties arise or new attractions or selfish interests present themselves.
Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.
Today, the role of love. Not a hindrance or obstacle to our discussion of commitment and sacrament. Commitment ensures the flowering of love:
131. I would like to say to young people that none of this is jeopardized when their love finds expression in marriage. Their union encounters in this institution the means to ensure that their love truly will endure and grow. Naturally, love is much more than an outward consent or a contract, yet it is nonetheless true that choosing to give marriage a visible form in society by undertaking certain commitments shows how important it is. It manifests the seriousness of each person’s identification with the other and their firm decision to leave adolescent individualism behind and to belong to one another. Marriage is a means of expressing that we have truly left the security of the home in which we grew up in order to build other strong ties and to take on a new responsibility for another person. This is much more meaningful than a mere spontaneous association for mutual gratification, which would turn marriage into a purely private affair.
Do you see this as a problem, that some marriages are contracted indeed to conduct this private affair.
As a social institution, marriage protects and shapes a shared commitment to deeper growth in love and commitment to one another, for the good of society as a whole. That is why marriage is more than a fleeting fashion; it is of enduring importance. Its essence derives from our human nature and social character. It involves a series of obligations born of love itself, a love so serious and generous that it is ready to face any risk.
Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.
Battle imagery from one of the Western Fathers, but not inappropriate, I’d say:
130. On the other hand, joy also grows through pain and sorrow. In the words of Saint Augustine, “the greater the danger in battle the greater is the joy of victory”.(Confessions, VIII, III, 7: PL 32, 752) After suffering and struggling together, spouses are able to experience that it was worth it, because they achieved some good, learned something as a couple, or came to appreciate what they have. Few human joys are as deep and thrilling as those experienced by two people who love one another and have achieved something as the result of a great, shared effort.
An underdog story that might appeal to me. What about you? Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.
I was pleased to discover some weeks ago my parish is offering the same holy day schedule this coming Monday as it does for when such observances are obligatory. Compared to Sundays, the numbers will be small. I suppose that will be true in many parishes, if not most.
I think some group is offering a coffee hour after the morning Mass. I don’t seriously think these are true carrots for parish Catholics. But they do provide an appropriate degree of gladness to match the observance.
From the point of view of the person in the pew … If I’m going to commit forty to sixty minutes for Mass, can I expect others will commit their time to offer a worthy homily, good music, a hospitable welcome, and maybe a bit of festivity for the feast. Or is it more about the obligation than the celebration? And if so, and if you wonder about few numbers–maybe look in the mirror, Church.
What’s your parish doing on Monday?
My alarm will be set to wake early to watch pre-game tomorrow and catch the first two matches of the new English Premier League season. I’ve been pouring most of my sports attention the last few years into soccer, so this weekend will be an exciting return to live action after a few months of combing through online editions of Welsh and English news media to follow the comings, goings, hopes, and dreams of the clubs.
I think my wife has been laughing at me. There has been soccer on tv all summer, of course. Sometimes when she is channel surfing, I will get notice of something. And I respond with less interest … MLS but not the Sounders … Mexican league … “practice games” (my term for friendlies). I did follow Wales and Iceland in Euro 2016. That tournament was a satisfying one for underdogs, mostly.
Even though it was only three years ago that I began to follow Swansea City, I still can’t recall the exact start of my awareness of the team. I might have even noticed Cardiff City first (because of the Doctor Who connection). But I was intrigued by two underdog teams from Wales competing in the English League. And I can’t resist a sporting underdog. So my home pc has bookmarks for about a half-dozen Swans outlets. Still, I’m a bit worried and confess I’m sad to pick them 12th. Compared to British pundits, that’s optimism.
I also get to root against the rich and powerful teams. It seems the top four are getting slotted into most predictors’ top four. But I’m picking them 1, 2, 5, and 8.
- Man City, but I suspect this will be a lot tougher for their first-year manager than leagues where there aren’t a dozen dangerous teams.
- Arsenal, because this seems where they always belong.
- Spurs, because I think the team might be better than last year and finishing below Arsenal must still sting.
- West Ham, because I think some team from the middle is due to rise up.
- Man United, because I don’t think as much of their manager, and even less of their defending. Goalkeeping has kept this side afloat for the past three years.
- Leicester, because I think they are good enough not to fall too far.
- Liverpool, because they don’t seem to have improved much.
- Chelsea, because it’s a long way up from the middle.
- Everton, because they have a better manager and have scooped up one of my favorite Swans.
- Stoke, because this is about where they were last year.
- Crystal Palace, because they’ve made enough improvements and I don’t think the second half of last season was a true barometer.
- Swansea, because I’m still worried about the additions being an overall improvement.
- Southampton, because losing so many players over the past few seasons has to take its toll sometime.
- Bournemouth, because I like their energy to stay above the rest of the relegation-endangered teams.
- West Brom, because defending might not be enough.
- Sunderland, but they will be scraping near-bottom for most of the year.
- Burnley, because they might have just enough drive to stay up this time.
- Watford, because they’ve lost their best asset, a good manager, and haven’t made enough acquisitions.
- Hull, same as Watford
- Middlesbrough, because I have to pick some team for the basement.
David, any revisions to this?
Love is not an abstract rational thing. It co-exists in a material universe where it can be revealed, symbolized, or represented by concrete acts. These acts are not love, but rather the cultivation of it.
129. The joy of this contemplative love needs to be cultivated. Since we were made for love, we know that there is no greater joy than that of sharing good things: “Give, take, and treat yourself well” (Sir 14:16). The most intense joys in life arise when we are able to elicit joy in others, as a foretaste of heaven. We can think of the lovely scene in the film Babette’s Feast, when the generous cook receives a grateful hug and praise: “Ah, how you will delight the angels!” It is a joy and a great consolation to bring delight to others, to see them enjoying themselves. This joy, the fruit of fraternal love, is not that of the vain and self-centred, but of lovers who delight in the good of those whom they love, who give freely to them and thus bear good fruit.
Thoughts on this?
Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.
One of my favorite early American tunes is Resignation. When I was speaking to a customer service contact at WLP/Paluch yesterday, she mentioned that many samples of instrumental music in their catalogue are online, including this fine arrangement by James Clemens.