Marriage Ministry Novena and Lenten Reflection: Week One
First Week: What Does it Mean to Love?
Commitment and Love
When you love your spouse, perhaps, you mean two things:
First, perhaps you admire their intelligence, sensitivity, care for you and your children and extended family and their capacity to sacrifice for the good of others .
Second, perhaps you mean your own capacity to give yourself for their good and the good of the family.
The romantic love you felt for each other and still sometimes feel, moves you in this direction. Your love survived a change in your feelings, from time to time, otherwise there would be no permanence to your love. You would be a creature of pure emotion, like a leaf in the wind. Do you understand the meaning of the vows a bride and groom exchange on their wedding day?
I, N., take you, N., for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do us part.
To prepare for this time of prayer and reflection on the marital vows with your beloved, read the following questions together, answering from your own perspective and circle T for
and F for
I feel very comfortable being close to and trusting my partner. T F
I can confide in my partner about almost anything. T F
I feel confident, even when we are apart, that we are connected to each other. T F
I know that my partner cares about my joys, hurts, and fears. T F
I feel safe enough to take emotional risks with my partner. T F
Novena and Reflection
Growth in love always involves joys, suffering and sacrifice. If all three are in your marriage, you most probably are on the right road. For a growth in your shared love and a healing of hurts and wounds, we invite you to pray the
Novena for a Happy and Faithful Marriage
and prayerfully consider these reflections from St. Josemaria Escriva, to be said weekly with each reflection:
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
"Christian marriage is not just a social institution, much less a mere remedy for human weakness. It is a real supernatural calling. A great sacrament, in Christ and in the Church, says St. Paul. At the same time, it is a permanent contract between a man and a woman. Whether we like it or not, the sacrament of matrimony, instituted by Christ, cannot be dissolved. It is a permanent contract that sanctifies in cooperation with Jesus Christ. He fills the souls of husband and wife and invites them to follow him. He transforms their whole married life into an occasion for God's presence on earth.
-St. Josemaria Escriva
For the Married (together if possible)
Lord Jesus Christ, You have elevated the covenant of marriage between man and woman to the dignity of a sacrament, making of our relationship a true pathway to holiness. Help us never to lose sight of the holiness of our bond. You will that husband and wife should image Your own spousal relationship with the Church. May we always reflect the beauty of that relationship by the holiness of our lives and our fidelity to each other. Amen
For the Engaged and those seriously considering this commitment of married love: (together if possible)
Lord Jesus Christ , help us to appreciate how great the calling to marriage is, as we together prepare for the
Grant that we might seek to reflect the love that You have for Your Church by our sincere and sacrificing love for each other. May we be pure in our hearts, chaste in our bodies, and generous in our service to one another, so that our love for each other may truly imitate the love with which You laid down Your life for Your bride, the Church. Amen.
All close by praying:
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we give our hearts and souls to you.
(Now offer one Hail Mary together, inviting Our Blessed Lady to pray for you)
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Where do these exercises come from?
These spiritual exercises have been adapted from the book,
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
, by Dr. Sue Johnson! Over the next 9 weeks, you will see important concepts and information extracted from her book, pursued in prayer with the one you love, all in the name of creating a more meaningful and lasting connection. We are all born with a deep need to belong, to have someone who offers consistent emotional connection and comfort. For most of us, we receive that sense of emotional bonding initially from our parents.
Dr. Johnson’s book is a unique approach to helping couples work through conflict that doesn't focus on traditional methods of conflict resolution, but rather focuses on understanding the underlying consequences of existing and previous conflicts within an adult loving relationship. As couples use pivotal moments from their marriage as the means to being open, vulnerable, and present to each other, their emotional bonds, we hope, will be repaired and strengthened for the future. Feeling emotionally connected to your partner is essential and also leads to healthy relationship habits that make for a love that lasts a lifetime. Don't miss next week, when, in prayer and reflection, we'll be digging into the first of seven transforming conversations to have with your partner: “
Recognizing the Demon Dialogue
.” Please remember to pray for all the couples making this Novena with you.
If you want to continue this novena, please click here to sign up!
Fr. John Arnold
on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 6:17PM