Advent Reflections – December 22, 2015

Living in Harmony: In Church Tradition

“Louis Martin 1” by unidentified photographer – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons 
“Zélie Martin 1” by unidentified photographer – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons 

Back on October 18, 2015, the Church celebrated the canonization of Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The witness of their life together has given the Church a beautiful example of marital love, devotion and unity. Both firmly believed that God had called them to the vocation of marriage and that it was through their marriage they would reach heaven. As any couple, they did not always agree. However, they valued their unity over any discord. Most importantly,

The Blessed Martin spouses are a reminder also to those of you who are married, and those who are preparing to marry, that marriage is a way of faith; they encourage you to rediscover for your married life the centrality of Jesus Christ and of growing in the Church. – Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri

Marriage is learning to live in harmony with another person. When two become one, unity and harmony are required. The principle can be applied to all relationships. We are called to live harmoniously with all persons, not just those we like or get along with.

Spend time learning about Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin. What is one lesson from their life that you can strive to emulate in your own?

Advent Reflections – December 21, 2015

Living in Harmony: Mary in Scripture

When God first spoke to Mary and she accepted His will into her heart and womb, she embarked on a rocky road. She must have told Joseph about the experience, since Scripture tell us he was going to quietly divorce her. Mary and Joseph experiences a period of complete discord and disunity. Perhaps she tried to explain what happened – but how can you really explain “an angel told me, how could I say no?” She may have appealed to his goodness and compassion, asking him to protect her from the severity of the law which could have been lethal if she was not married. At least, that’s what I would have done.

I, however, am not Mary, who was full of grace and lived in unique and perfect harmony with God. When I imagine how Mary would have handled this time of disunity, I find something rather different than my own attempts to fix the problem. Actually, I don’t think Mary tried to fix the problem. I think sat Joseph down and explained as best she could what had happened. She understood that what she was telling him was difficult, impossible even. And yet she would have trusted in his faith in God and in her. She probably told him to pray about it and listen for God’s whispers in his heart. Even when he moved to divorce her, I believe she kept her peace and patience.

Even though Joseph may not have been in unity with Mary during this difficult time, she was with him. She maintained her patience, her compassion, her understanding and her faith in God’s will. She supported Joseph as he struggled to understand what was happening to him through her choice to be the Mother of God.

Being in unity with someone does not mean perfect understanding exists between the two of you. Sometimes, unity is difficult and requires sacrifice, patience and compassion. How can you build greater unity and foster harmony with someone you have a tendency disagree with?

Advent Reflections – December 20, 2015

Living in Harmony: The Reality of Motherhood

The first moment of motherhood is a moment of incredible harmony. Here is a woman, a single person, who now carries within her a second person, totally separate from herself. Yet, they are intimately united, each affecting the other. The mother’s choices, diet, rest, etc. directly impact the baby. The baby’s growth and the hormones associated with pregnancy directly impact the mother. The unity and harmony between mother and child is an image of how God desires to be in unity and harmony with humanity.

Jesus prayed

…that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us. John 17: 21

God wishes to share everything with us, as He did with our first parents in the Garden of Eden. Sin and temptation have stand in the way of perfect unity with God, but even imperfect unity would be better than disunity.

Just as God desires us to live in unity and harmony with him, He desires us to find similar harmony with each of our brothers and sisters. We were created to be one family, one people. Through the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the walls of hostility, anger, hatred, racism, envy, and pride come crashing down.

For he [Jesus] is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two [two referring to the division between the Jews and Gentiles], thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. Ephesians 2:14-16

Is there a person in your life that you could live in greater harmony with?