Marriage has been described as a “journey together to God.” Pope Francis chose this image in speaking to 20 couples he married last week in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Choosing the Bible passage that speaks of the Israelites long and wearisome journey to the Promised Land the Pope said, “This makes us think of families, our families, walking along the paths of life with all their day-to-day experiences. It is impossible to quantify the strength and depth of humanity contained in a family: mutual help, educational support, relationships developing as family members mature, the sharing of joys and difficulties.”
Recognizing that the family’s journey is not without difficulty the Holy Father noted that, like the Israelites, married couples “become impatient on the way, the way of conjugal and family life. The hardship of the journey causes them to experience interior weariness; they lose the flavor of matrimony and they cease to draw water from the well of the Sacrament. Daily life becomes burdensome”…some “succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment. To them too, God the Father gives His Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them: if they entrust themselves to Him, He will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the cross.”
Family journeys have periods of darkness and of light, and while a couple’s companions change, parents die, children leave home, sickness intervenes, Jesus is always present. The Pope noted, “It is a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times turbulent, but such is life! …It is normal for husband and wife to argue: it’s normal. It always happens. But my advice is this: never let the day end without having first made peace. Never! A small gesture is sufficient. Thus the journey may continue.”
“The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife, is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out. The love of Christ can restore to spouses the joy of journeying together.”
Remember the promise of Jesus, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
Image Credit: CNS photo/Paul Haring