Report written by Karin Abrams, Coordinator Marriage Education Support and Enrichment in the Life, Marriage & Family Office, Diocese of Parramatta
MEN, WOMEN AND THE MYSTERY OF LOVE
Guest Speaker: Dr Edward Sri
The 2017 Faith in Marriage Seminar
8th September 2017
Dr Edward Sri, a theologian, author and well known Catholic speaker from the Augustine Institute in the US addressed the 2017 Faith in Marriage Seminar on the good, the beautiful and the messiness of marriage. He spoke of today’s culture which offers the wrong view of love and beauty and undermines what God has taught us about the Sacrament of Marriage. Today’s culture views love as something in which an individual expects to get something out of it. Dr Sri pointed out that this view doesn’t model building a lasting love and is more concerned with what is done for the benefit of the individual.
Authentic love, on the other hand, seeks what is best for the other. The culture influences what young people take into their dating and marriage. Dr Sri went on to say that it is vital that young people spend time discerning, praying together, attending pre marriage preparation and always being mindful of putting Jesus at the centre of their Catholic Marriage. Real love is man and woman standing together serving something outside themselves for example children, extended family etc. Dr Sri reminded us that we are wired that way, we are made to live like the Trinity that is in total self-giving love. Jesus is the great example of total self-giving love. Couples will only find happiness via self-giving love which need to be educated and trained. He reminded us that just as the first wine at Cana didn’t last, couples need more than the first spark of attraction. Pope Benedict said ‘for real love to grow Jesus has to come in and do something’. “Let Jesus into your hearts and into your marriage”, said Dr Sri. Pope John Paul II reminds us that God who calls couples to marriage continues to call you in your marriage.
Dr Sri went on to remind us that 3 things happen in couple relationships when entering into the Sacrament of Marriage. Firstly, a bond is established, which must not be torn asunder, secondly, this joining together is a sign of God’s love for us. It is a representation of Jesus’ love for the Church, his total self-giving sacrifice. Thirdly, couples are a living sign of the love of Christ. At the time of marriage the couple receive an outpouring of Grace to sustain them. The couple can call on this font of Grace at any time. Dr Sri encouraged us to turn to the grace of the Sacrament in our marriages. This is most helpful in the early stages of marriage as each needs to adjust to the other. He reminded us that changes need to happen in you not just your spouse, you need to relate in another way. It is not the role of the other to adjust to our needs, wants and expectations. When couples enter into marriage their expectations can be different, they may bring wounds into their marriage relationship, and they can be influenced by the cultural view of marriage which doesn’t value a lifelong faithful marriage or even motherhood. If couples work on overcoming differences and hurts this leads to a total acceptance of the spouse as gift. Dr Sri encourages us to give each the benefit of the doubt and if one stumbles, to love the other even more, this he went on to say, is a real display of love. Dr Sri encouraged all married couples to say 2 sets of 3 words daily – ‘I am sorry’ and ‘I forgive you’. In conclusion Dr Sri reminded the audience that the model for marriage is Jesus on the Cross and those immortal words “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23: 34).