Between longings and desires. Reflection for marriages. John 15, 1-7

Gospel

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

From the Gospel according to John. Jn 15, 1-7.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
The Gospel of the Lord

Between longings and desires.

Remaining in the Vine as branches has to bear two necessary fruits: 

Firstly, our soul must be alive, our longings for God and His plan must be well nourished, and the gifts of the Spirit must be active within us.

The second fruit is that this must necessarily lead us to perform acts of love, especially with our spouse.

If either of these aspects is lacking, we must examine our spiritual life.

Applied to Married Life:

Jack: Jessica, I realize that there are two types of needs in my heart. One is very deep, the longings that God has planted and nurtures when I am close to Him, and the other is the more superficial desires that intensify when I engage with the world.

Jessica: How interesting. I had never considered the difference between these two types of needs: the deep longings and the concupiscent desires. It will help me observe myself and distinguish them in my day-to-day life.

Jack: Yes, seeing how they affect me helps me determine whether I am connected to the Lord or not. My goal is to always be in Him.

Jessica: I love that. Yes. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Mother,

We want to always be united to the Lord, always in His presence, always in Him. Praise be to God who nourishes the longings of our soul.

Spousal Priesthood. Reflection for marriages. John 15:9-17

GOSPEL

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you

From the Gospel according to John. Jn 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Spousal Priesthood.

Christ is the eternal Priest, and He asks us to love one another as He loves us. It is time to put in practice the priesthood of the laity. It is time to offer ourselves in sacrifice, remaining in Him, united to His sacrifice. That is marriage: to give ourselves to each other as He gave Himself to us. From there, all the fruits will emerge.

Applied to married life:

Theresa: This Christianity thing boils down to one thing: Do you love Christ? Surrender yourself to Him. 

Rapha: And this marriage thing boils down to one thing: Do you love your spouse? Then surrender yourself to him or her. 

Theresa: It’s clear. And it is love that moves us to surrender. Otherwise, it’s not love. 

Rapha: And that love is given by the Holy Spirit. We understand that, right? So let’s not be surprised by the consequences then. 

Theresa: May the Lord help us on our journey. 

Rapha: May He help us, indeed. We need to stay very close to Him.

Mother,

Love is the key to everything. It is what enables us to surrender. We want to grow in love. Help us, Mother.

Signs of those who believe. Reflection for marriages Mk: 16, 15-20

Gospel

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

From the Gospel according to Mark. Mk. 16,15-20.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Signs of those who believe.

Let’s talk today about those signs that accompany those who believe. To do this, we suggest some marital scenarios.

Applied to married life:

Casting out demons (Authority against evil): Several things have happened that have made him lose his patience. She decides to rescue him in the name of Jesus. She withstands the storm because he says harsh things to her. However she knows that when she hugs him he calms down and therefore as soon as she has the opportunity, she hugs him and says, “Come on darling, I love you so much.” And she kisses him. He, surrounded by her love, melts and asks for forgiveness.

Speaking in tongues: Lou comes hurt because her sister-in-law has said very harsh things to her. Her husband knows that his mission is to make her feel heard, understood, and accompanied in her suffering. She says harsh things about her husband’s sister, but he does not judge his wife or defend his sister. He simply listens and delves into his wife’s pain. He tells her how much he understands her pain. In the end, he doesn’t offer her any solution, but she has been comfortable with him and felt loved. After the ordeal, he encourages her to offer her suffering like Christ. This is speaking the language of God.

Taking snakes in one’s hands (overcoming temptations): She is very tired, there are things to do, and he doesn’t seem very active. Thoughts like “I never get a break,” “I have to do everything” come to her inmediately. But she decides to serve with love, in the name of the Lord, who also came to serve and not to be served. And also, to do it with joy, for the opportunity to join the Lord in this. Glory to God! Her heart shouts.

Drinking poison and not dying (not being affected by criticism): Two spouses have different opinions and end up arguing. He says that everything bothers her and that she doesn’t accept others thinking differently. In these situations, she used to feel despised and found it hard to forgive her husband. This time, she decides not to give relevance to those words. Surely the Lord wouldn’t have held it against her in a similar situation. So, she forgives him, and they both continue to have a pleasant day together. There will be times when they are able to share their differences without arguing.

Laying hands on the sick and having them healed: two spouses suffer because they believe they are incompatible. Another couple who have discovered the love of God come to their aid. They talk to them about the beauty of marriage. They explained that they haven’t learned to love each other and that is something that needs to be learned, that Mary wants to help them, that Christ is in the midst and will perform the miracle. That wounded couple fills with hope and decides to start again and fight for their marriage and their family, their great treasure.

Holy Spirit,

Come to our marriage. Give us the strength to love each other despite the circumstances; give us the guidance to discern in complicated situations; give us the wisdom of God to look at our relationship from His Truth; give us the intelligence to understand the Truth of the mystery of our sacrament. Give us the knowledge to value our spouse as a child of God; the piety to open ourselves to the tenderness of the Father and towards our spouse; and the fear of God, the fear of offending Him and the desire to remain in His love. Holy Spirit, transform our marriage. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Let it flow. Reflection for Marriage. Mark 16:15-20

GOSPEL

Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News
From the Gospel according to Mark
Mark 16:15-20
Jesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them:
  ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
  And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.
The Gospel of the Lord
Let it flow.

To the spouses who believe, these signs will accompany them (Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia 163):
“The love we promise each other surpasses any emotion, feeling or mood, although it may include them. It is a deeper desire, with a decision of the heart that involves the whole existence. Thus, amidst an unresolved conflict, and even though many confused feelings may swirl around the heart, the decision to love, to belong, to share life together, and to remain loving and forgiving is kept alive each day. Each of the two embarks on a path of growth and personal change. In the midst of this journey, love celebrates every step and every new stage…The bond finds new modes and demands the decision to knead it again and again. But not just to preserve it, but to develop it. It is the path of building oneself day by day. But none of this is possible unless the Holy Spirit is invoked, unless His grace is sought every day, unless His supernatural strength is called upon, unless He is earnestly asked to pour out His fire upon our love to strengthen it, guide it, and transform it in every new situation.”
The Holy Spirit is what unites us, but the Holy Spirit is very “sensitive” to our freedom. If we set any boundaries between us, He cannot flow between the two of us. Let us remove the pleasures that hinder our union, let us remove the passions that drive us apart, let not my will be done nor rely on my judgments. If we do this, then the Spirit that dwells deep within us will flow between us and will be able to do His great work. His immense work of Love.

Applied to married life:

George: I no longer seek what I like, nor my comfort. I no longer reject you when my feelings urge me to do so. I no longer insist on my will and am docile. I now distrust my judgments, for God is very great and I may be wrong now as I was in the past. And it is now that I experience what the Holy Spirit can do in our union.
Maddie: Now indeed we experience what it is to contemplate together, now we live the full joy. The experiences we are living are indescribable, my dear husband.
George: I look at you and wonder, who are you? I have not yet discovered all the greatness that God has meant to give you.

Come Holy Spirit,

Come into our marriage. Give us the strength and courage to decide to love each other despite the circumstances; give us the counsel to discern in complicated situations; give us God’s wisdom to view our relationship from His Truth; give us the understanding to grasp the Truth of the mystery of our sacrament, give us the knowledge to value our spouse as a child of God; the piety to open up to the tenderness of the Father and towards the spouse; and the fear of God, the fear of offending Him and the desire to remain in love. Holy Spirit, transform our marriage. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

As to the Lord, Reflection for Marriage, John 16:23b-28

GOSPEL
From the Gospel according to John
Jn 16:23b-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

“I have told you this in figures of speech.
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures
but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

Word of the Lord.

As to the Lord.

The great saints agree that when one fully surrenders to the Lord, He fully surrenders to them.
Whoever loves Him is loved by the Father and asks in the name of the Lord because they ask for what the Lord wants, and the Father gives them everything. Everything!

Applied to Married Life:

Jaime: It’s so hard for me to be faithful to the consecration we made to the Sacred Heart of Jesus… Especially when it comes to everything related to losing honor.
Mercedes: It’s not easy at all, but on the other hand, we do like the consequences of having consecrated ourselves later. Then we ask and ask because we need inner peace, we need joy, and above all, we need love.
Jaime: Sometimes I think it’s a matter of patience. If I now give everything the Lord asks of me and wait, the Lord will eventually give Himself to me, and there’s nothing better or more desirable.
Mercedes: That’s right. Let’s surrender to each other as to the Lord and patiently wait for the Lord to fulfill His promise. Sound good?
Jaime: Sounds great. Let’s encourage each other. Okay?

Mother,

You certainly knew how to consecrate yourself to the Lord, and the Lord surrendered to you! And in what a way! You are our model. Thank you, Blessed Mother.