“Marriage . . . is not all magic. Husband and wife must work hard at it. If one is making no effort, the other must work twice as hard. Love helps, though it is precisely love that is in danger of losing its elan with so much to depress it; prayer helps tremendously. But, in the purely psychological order, nothing helps so much as the reverence that flows from a right vision of what man is–that this loutish man, this empty-headed woman, is God’s image, an immortal spirit, loved by Christ even to the death of the Cross: whatever the surface looks like, this is in the depth of every human being, this in him is what God joined together with this in her. The realization that there is this welding of two into one in the depths of their being, below the level that the eye of the mind can see, is the most powerful incentive to make that union in depth effective through every layer of personality. This reverence is a safeguard against one of the great dangers of family life–the tendency of one partner to form, or re-form, the other . . . in his [or her] own image. There is a sort of imperialism to which the self is liable, the desire to impose its own likeness. As we have already seen, one should not lightly try to re-make another: but, if re-making there must be, assuredly the only image in which any one should be re-made is the image of God in which he [or she] was made.” Frank J. Sheed
“Above all, love each other deeply,
because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8 NIV
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you have a “right vision” of who you are? . . . of your spouse? Take some time to picture your spouse as God’s beloved image-bearer, as one treasured by God.
- Prayer and loving like Jesus (Ephesians 5:25) will also be necessary. Are you praying God’s blessing on your spouse? How does your love for your spouse resemble God’s love for you?
- Do you have an “imperialistic” attitude where you’re insisting on what you know is best for your spouse? Can you humble yourself instead, and allow God to work in your spouse (and in you) in God’s way and time?
Abba, I need your work in me. I’ll leave my spouse to you. Help us both.
For more: Marriage and the Family by Frank J. Sheed
Thanks for reading, following and sharing these Daily Riches! Look for my upcoming book–Wisdom From the Margins: Daily Readings for more meditations like this. Coming soon!
Sheed, Frank J. Marriage and the Family. New York: Canterbury, 1953.
“Our society is dedicated almost entirely to the celebration of the ego, with all its sad fantasies about success and power, and it celebrates those very forces of greed and ignorance that are destroying the planet.” Sogyal Rinpoche
“Ego is a usurper. We are neither the center of the universe nor should ego be the center of our being. At some deep level of spirit we know that we were meant to live in alignment with forces transcendent to our self. We long to be able to put our trust in someone or something greater than us. To refuse to find our place in relation to that which transcends the ego is to be lost within the illusion of being in control. To not become free in relation to something or someone beyond self is to become un-free in relation to tyrannizing powers within self.” David G. Benner
“I believe [in], what Thomas Merton calls ‘true self.’ This is not the ego self that wants to inflate us (or deflate us, another from of self-distortion), not the intellectual self that wants to hover above the mess of life in clear but ungrounded ideas, not the ethical self that wants to live by some abstract moral code. It is the self-planted in us by the God who made us in God’s own image–the self that wants nothing more, or less, than for us to be who we were created to be… True self is true friend. One ignores or rejects such friendship only at one’s peril.” Parker Palmer
“But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Think of someone you know with an oversized ego. Can you sense the danger?
- Are you in touch with “the self-planted in you by the God who made you in God’s own image?” If not, can you ask God for help with that?
- In what ways are you “living in alignment” with the transcendent One who created you, rather than “refusing to find your place” and insisting on control?
Abba, I want only to be who you created me to be. No more and no less.
For more: Care of the Soul by David Benner
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”
“What is repugnant to every human being is to be reckoned always as a member of a class and not as an individual person.” Dorothy Sayers
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were … last at the Cross [and first at the tomb!]. They had never known a man like this Man–there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them … who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything ‘funny’ about woman’s nature.” Dorothy Sayers
“After years of reading the Gospels and the full canon of Scripture, here is, very simply, what I learned about Jesus and the ladies: he loves us. He loves us. On our own terms. He treats us as equals to the men around him; he listens; he does not belittle; he honors us; he challenges us; he teaches us; he includes us—calls us all beloved. Gloriously, this flies in the face of the cultural expectations of his time—and even our own time. Scholar David Joel Hamilton calls Jesus’ words and actions toward women ‘controversial, provocative, even revolutionary.'” Sara Bessey
“Women aged fifteen through forty-five are more likely to be maimed or die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined. One-third of women face abuse at home. …in most countries, between 30 and 60 percent of women had experienced physical or sexual violence by a husband or a boyfriend. Up to 70 percent of female murder victims are killed by their male partners.” Bessey
“So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you automatically see a women first as “a member of a class and not an individual” …made in God’s image?
- Does the kind of love-of-women Jesus demonstrated characterize your family? Is it a value preached in your church?
- Men, is your goal to be “a man like this man”–like Jesus–who prizes and honors women?
Abba, help me be more like Jesus in my relationships with women.
For More: Jesus Feminist by Sara Bessey
Thanks for following and sharing my blog! – Bill
“I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born.” Thomas Merton
“Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. …In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.” Pope Francis
“ Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Moving From Head to Heart
- Is religion as you practice it, part of the problem (extremism, reductionism, polarization), or the solution (protecting freedom, fostering love, working against grave injustices, creating social consensus)?
- Is the language of your religious leaders characterized by the moral courage, humility and hope that Pope Francis demonstrated before Congress?
- Do you recognize both the “image of God” and the “image of the world” in yourself? Can you be gracious and patient with yourself accordingly? …with others?
Abba, may your image increasingly prevail in us as individuals and communities of faith.
For More: The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. Thanks for reading and sharing them. I appreciate your interest! – Bill