On Wednesday we’ll celebrate the Annunciation, the first of many yeses to come from Joseph and Mary’s marriage, what the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen has referred to as the first “divine romance,” a marriage “such as the stars have whose light unites in the atmosphere, though the stars themselves do not.”
On February 18, 1951 on his radio show The Catholic Hour, Archbishop Sheen spoke of the renunciation of self on both Mary and Joseph’s part for the sake of something greater: a child.
God loves bellowing waterfalls, but I believe He loves them better not when they overflow and drown His flowers, but when they are harnessed and bridled to light a city and to slake the thirst of a child. Not then in Joseph and Mary do we find one pure controlled waterfall and one dried-up lake, but rather two youths who before they knew the beauty of the one, and the handsome strength of the other, willed to surrender it for the ‘passionless passion’ and ‘wild tranquility’ of Jesus.
In this divine romance we can see our own marriages and the light that’s come forth from our unions. In our willingness to bring forth children, we join Joseph and Mary as we harness our freedom and ability for the sake of those little ones entrusted to us, the passionless passion of parenthood.
The monotony and difficulties of family life can make us feel like there’s been some mistake, that God had made us for something more than the drudgery that comes with the upkeep of a family. But in Joseph and Mary’s marriage we have His assurance that this is His divine plan, that He will be with us always, and indeed will be the very light that is sent out into the world when we work to love our spouses and children in our own homes.
Copyright 2015 Meg Matenaer.
Photo via Morguefile.