“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6
Those of you looking for a good love story on this Valentine’s Day need look no further then today’s 1st Reading (Genesis 2:18-25) wherein we read of the Lord God’s creation of the woman, to which Adam exclaims in delight this joyous proclamation:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
This is why, we are told in the waning words of this passage, a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh. This Reading is of course a popular choice at Weddings, beautiful imagery for even the most jaded and pessimistic among us who read of divorce rates that percolate upwards and even beyond 50% and wonder if the Sacrament of Marriage is on the verge of going the way of the Edsel, the type-writer or the Kodak Camera.
Through the revelation of God’s plan for marriage, an indissoluble bond between a man and a woman wherein two become one, we gain insight into God’s definition of love, which, in comparison to that of man’s, is far more powerful and yes, eternal in breadth and scope.
The world’s wealthiest man Jeff Bezos, upon recently announcing his divorce from his wife of many years after having been caught in a very public and unseemly affair, concluded his public statement on the matter by saying “Had my wife and I known we would have had 25 great years together before separating, we would’ve done it all over again.” This statement is all too indicative of the casual almost blasé attitude we take when making promises to our Maker, wherein we stand before God and our families and promise to love our spouse until death do us part.
.....but if we only make it to 25 years before one of us is caught committing adultery, that’d be pretty good too.
Of course marriage isn’t the only institution in jeopardy due to our lackluster and lukewarm response to God’s love. The family unit as a whole has taken an awful thrashing in recent years and we as a people in general, whether it be due to smart phones, video game addiction, “Netflix bingeing“ or an inordinate obsession with spectator sports have become more isolated, more alone. Isolation affects us emotionally and you can be sure that it affects us spiritually as well.
Just as God calls the man and woman to be one in the Sacramental Covenant of Marriage, he calls all of us to be one as members of the Mystical Body of Christ. We need to start calling people on the phone again, visiting people again, having coffee or a beer with each other again. These seemingly innocuous human interactions are vital to our wellbeing.
Just as God realized that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, it is not good for any of us to be alone. Strive to be Christ’s presence today to someone who might be feeling isolated, marginalized, left out or simply alone.
“Dear Lord, help me to rise above all the negative feelings that loneliness brings.. and all the negative elements that come with it. I pray that I may be enabled to embrace it in such a way that my life honors you and becomes an encouragement to others who may be facing similar lonely feelings.” ~ Amen