Marriage requires commitment

When infatuation fades, true, selfless love sets in. Love is a decision. Love requires commitment.

Yesterday, the Gospel reading was about how living a holy life requires commitment.

Today, Jesus talks about how marriage requires commitment:

“The Pharisees approached and asked, ‘Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?’ They were testing him. He said to them in reply, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They replied, ‘Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.’ But Jesus told them, ‘Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.’” — Mark 10:2-9

Divorce gives couples an easy way out.

When couples finally see the faults and the imperfections of the person they married, divorce gives them an easy way out.

When couples see someone more successful, more beautiful, more understanding, more patient, and yes, even sexier than the person they married, divorce gives them an easy way out.

When couples no longer feel the fire in their marriage, divorce gives them an easy way out.

My wife and I have been married for only ten months, but we already begin to see (and experience) each other’s imperfections.

Of course, my wife will always be the kindest, the loveliest, the most patient, and the most understanding woman for me. That’s my promise to her and to God on our wedding day. But there are times when I fall short on my promise and watch videos of pretty artists on YouTube or even take a quick look at someone pretty passing by whenever we’re outside. (I’m sorry, but I’m trying to do better.)

But one thing I’m really striving for is to be committed to my wife and our marriage. I am striving to be committed to my wife and give her all of myself — including my eyes, my heart, and my time.

What divorce gives us couples is an easy option when the difficult option is to be committed. Being committed requires being vulnerable, being open to one another even if it means eating your pride or ego, being honest even if it means revealing your own faults and mistakes, opening old wounds, being uncomfortable, and sticking with one another even when you no longer feel like it.

My wife knows all my faults, my sins, and my weaknesses. But believe me, it’s very difficult, painful, and embarrassing to be completely open and vulnerable. And I know it’s also painful for her to accept all my faults and weaknesses. It may also be difficult for her to know all my faults without judging me. And the most difficult part is deciding and striving to be better together. 

But commitment is what helps us get through those difficult feelings and emotions and problems together. Commitment is what helps us grow as individuals and as a couple. Commitment is what helps makes our marriage and our characters stronger.

With divorce, we can simply say, “It’s not working out” or “He/She’s just not the one for me” or “We tried but it’s just better for us to be separated.”

But with commitment, there is no other way but to stay together no matter how difficult or painful it may be.

When infatuation fades, true, selfless love sets in. Love is a decision. Love requires commitment.


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Avoiding sin requires commitment

I’m having one of those days when I am feeling spiritually dry and discouraged about my blog.

Usually, I am most tempted to commit sin when I am in this terrible state.

But today’s Gospel reading reminds us how committed we should be to avoid sin and live a life of faith and holiness:

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna.” — Mark 9:42-47

Strive to live a life of faith, holiness, and righteousness however difficult it may be. Most of the time, we may even have to die to our desires, our dreams, and ourselves just to do that.

 

P.S. I’m sorry for the late posts lately. I’m having a hard time juggling my work, my family life, and this crazy dream of mine. I am also having one of those days when I just feel like quitting blogging. But, I’m trudging along. I’m still hoping and praying to get “there.” Wherever or whenever that may be.


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A call for Christian unity

The world does not need more Christians or Catholic Christians. The world needs more Christians and Catholics who live authentic Christian lives.

One of the saddest aspects of Christianity is our division. As Christians, we all follow Jesus, but we are divided because of our differences in doctrines and scriptural interpretations.

We criticize those who do not belong to the same denomination. We even condemn others who do not share the same beliefs that they will not be saved or attain eternal life.

Today’s Gospel reading is one of my favorite passages in the Bible as Jesus calls us into unity:

“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.’ Jesus replied, ‘Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.’” — Mark 9:38-40

As a Catholic, I believe in salvation through the Catholic Church and its teachings. I believe that the Catholic Church is founded by Christ. But I do not believe that you need to be a Catholic in order to be saved. Because at the end of the day:

“Salvation comes from God alone.” — Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 169

Salvation comes from His grace, mercy, and unfathomable love for us. Who are we to withhold salvation from others, especially those who do not belong to the same faith? Who are we to decide who will be saved or not?

What we need to do is to believe and follow Jesus by living a genuine life of faith. 

The world does not need more Christians or Catholic Christians. The world needs more Christians and Catholics who live authentic Christian lives.

And our division is not helping us to be authentic Christians. It is not helping our cause to spread the Gospel and make disciples as we are called by some non-believers, because of their painful experiences with Christians, as hypocrites.

As Jesus said in today’s Gospel reading, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” It didn’t matter whether the person doing mighty deeds in His Name was following Him or not. The important thing was that he was doing it out of love for his neighbors and that he believed in the mighty Name of Jesus.

We are all God’s children and we belong to One Body of Christ. What we are called to do is to love one another.


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Embrace your work

We can make a difference not only through the dreams we are pursuing, but also through our day jobs.

What’s your passion?

I read a blog post today that said, in my own words, that the number of artists that the current economy can support is tiny.

Maybe that’s the reason why it’s easier to get a day job today than become a best-selling author or a thriving artist. Sure, there are people who made it, but for every one person who has made it, hundreds or thousands of others haven’t. (Or at least, not yet.)

But that’s not a reason for us, dreamers, to be discouraged.

One thing I realized today is that we can make a difference not only through the dreams we are pursuing, but also through our day jobs.

Our day jobs also keep us humble and help us not to take our dreams for granted.

The hardships, the difficulties, and the daily grind in our day jobs also help us prove to ourselves how much we want our dreams and how determined we are to achieve them.

Most importantly, our day jobs teach us to serve the people who depend on us — our customers, bosses, coworkers, investors, and other stakeholders. Service is also the key that will unlock our dreams.

Service is also the key that will allow us to love and to make a difference with our drams:

“Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’” — Mark 9:35

Oftentimes, we learn to serve through our work.

May your life-changing dreams come true. In the meantime, embrace your work. 


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Behold, your mother

As Catholics, we are called by Jesus to welcome Mary, our mother, into our homes and into our hearts. And she will lead us to obedience to the Father and trust in her Son.

Today, we celebrate the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother of the Church.

As Catholics, we venerate (not praise or glorify) Mary. We give her the highest honor and respect given to a human being. But who is Mary for us Catholics?

Mary is our example of obedience. She teaches us to obey the will of the Father despite the uncertainties she would be facing when she said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Mary leads us to her Son. Whenever we ask for her intercession, she does not lead us to herself. Instead, she always leads us to trust in her Son and in His kindness and mercy just like what she did during the wedding at Cana when she said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Mary is our Queen Mother, the gebira, who intercedes for the people to the King, who is her Son, like how she interceded for the couple in Cana. She is also the Queen Mother is always found at the side of the King. “On entering the house [the magi] saw the child with Mary his mother.”

Mary is the New Eve. Through the old Eve’s disobedience, death entered into the world. Through the new Eve’s obedience, Jesus came into the world freeing us even from the grasp of death. Through Mary, the promise of the protoevangelium was fulfilled: “I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.”

Most of all, Mary is our mother, whom Jesus entrusted us to and entrusted us with.

“Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” — John 19:27

As Catholics, we are called by Jesus to welcome Mary, our mother, into our homes and into our hearts. And she will lead us to obedience to the Father and trust in her Son.


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