“I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace…” (EPH 4: 1-3)
Loving another person is sometimes not easy. When we have our wounds, our limits and our expectations, love can be a real challenge. We need all of our “humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” But when we are equipped with these strategies and these values, we can make our spouse happy.
“We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the glorious company of Apostles praise you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 TM 6: 11-12)
When we again started taking care of our relationships, in a very special way, with the strategies from Program 1, we found how important it is to continue every day gentleness and respect, our patience and love and our gift of self and communication. Even our devotion and faith need to grow constantly. All of these virtues need to be protected to protect us.
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” (1 TM 4: 15-16)
St. Paul reminds us how important the personal testimony is, in our own example- “so that your progress may be evident to everyone.” More important than good teaching is a personal testimony. St. Pope Paul VI used to say, “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” Our progress in rituals, in being a gift of self, in our gentleness and respect, in taking care of our relationship with our spouses can be very crucial for our friends and relatives; when inspired by our examples they can make the same for their families.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.” (1 TM 3: 16)
How often we envy the Angels for their spiritual functioning, being once again perplexed by our corporeality, which still causes us problems. We dream about being free from all these corporal temptations, our weaknesses and sometimes even sins. But Our Lord “was manifested in the flesh” and He sits in Heaven “in the flesh.” Because this is important for Our Lord, it should also be important for us. Our Lord is Love and is “in the flesh” so we can also communicate our love to our spouses and relatives “in the flesh.”
“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life, you have the words of everlasting life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” (1 TM 2: 3-4)
Our Lord “wills everyone to be saved.” Remembering about it can help us to see our weaknesses and our spouses’ limits as a very special place of His mercy and compassion. We have our problems not because we want to be malicious or bad, but because we have difficulties in making progress in areas of weakness. Our patience, gentleness and respect help.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it, sacrificing to it and crying out, ‘This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” (EX 32: 7-8)
We know this from our own experience: we find something interesting, we find a good strategy for our relationship, we make some promises and a week, or a month later, we are back to the same routine, to the same rituals we had before. This is why it is so important to watch our daily marriage rituals. Keep the rituals, and the rituals will keep your relationship in a good condition.
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (JN 3: 16-17)
Our Lord is merciful, full of compassion, Who came to save us-“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” Whatever He sees, He always looks for salvation, how to protect us and save us, not “to condemn.” In our married life we can do the same-defend our spouses always.
“We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” (LK 6: 42)
How perfectly this sentence-“Remove the wooden beam from you eye first”-describes the first strategy of our Program 1. If we really want to improve our relationship, we need to start from I, not from you. I need to change, I need to improve my relationship, I need to take responsibility, I need to “remove the wooden beam from my eye first,” then we can start our relationship with better vision, seeing our spouse’s beauty first.
“Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.” (COL 3: 12-13)
St. Paul is very realistic, he knows human nature and he knows how challenging love can be: “heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.” Even people of really good will, working hard to make them better, have some difficulties in some areas and need to be accepted with their weakness; all of us have some relatives or friends we need to “bear.”
“If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” (COL 3: 1-4)
We are never alone, we are always united with Our Lord. When we offered our lives to Him, our “life is hidden with Christ in God.” Whenever we meet difficult situations or difficult moments in our lives, the first thing we can do is go to our hearts and meet with Our Lord. He will protect, He will support, He will comfort.
“Rejoice and leap for joy! Your reward will be great in heaven.” (Gospel Acclamation)