By Rev. Ray E. Atwood Sacred Heart Parish, La Porte City
The Mystery of Love
“This [marriage] is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32).
Mystery is one of the great realities of life. Mystery is a reality that we can see partially and not see partially. There comes a time when the mystery of life fades. We begin to take things for granted, like a jeweler who casually handles precious stones without bothering to admire them. This casualness can cause us to lose an appreciation of mystery.
When wonder has vanished, then life becomes banal. It is possible that the popularity of mystery novels is caused by the fact that so many people have ceased to dwell on the mysteries of faith and are looking for a cheap substitute. Perhaps one reason people use cell phones obsessively is their deep desire for connection and relationship. And this may be a result of our turning from God and to the world.
Love is a mystery. If love is only physical or emotional, it will not last. And if mere physical or emotional love is the foundation of marriage, the marriage will end. Whenever we take someone for granted, there is less sensitivity and delicacy, both of which are the essential conditions of friendship, joy, and love.
Marriage is a mystery. In fact, you could say there are four mysteries within marriage. First, is the mystery of the other person’s physical being, the mystery of sex. When that mystery is “solved,” a baby is born, and a second mystery begins. The husband sees his wife as a mother, which is a new role for her. The wife sees her husband as a father, which is a new role for him.
When children reach the age of reason, a third mystery unfolds: that of motherhood and fatherhood, the disciplining of young minds and hearts in the ways of God. As the children grow to maturity, this mystery continues to deepen.
The final mystery of marriage is social living, when husband and wife jointly interact with a wider world. The family is the key to a stable and healthy society. Here lies the root of democracy because in the family the individual is not valued for what he is worth, but for what he is. The family is the social principle on which society depends, and is a potent reminder of the most important of all political principles; the state exists for the person, and the not the person for the state.
May we spend more time pondering the mystery of love and marriage, and growing closer to the God who is the origin of both.