O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Feel So Alive...and I Think I Can Fly.

Icon of the Nymphios (Bridegroom)
Many times people think that the love of God makes you happy; that if we are filled with the love of God we will be happy and not sad. However, the sad reality is that the love of God often causes us pain. Christ experienced great pain on the cross only because He loved us. If He didn't love us, He wouldn't have gone to Calvary or even have become man. When we are separated from someone (especially if the separation is caused by sin) the fact that we love them causes us great pain. If we didn't love them, then we wouldn't care that we are away from them and would be happy. 

Love desires to be with the beloved. Love desires to give oneself completely to the beloved to take care of her. Any separation causes great pain. Love does not seek to stay put and desire the beloved to come to you and make you happy. Love desires to get up and give himself for her good and her benefit. Love is about bringing the beloved to the dignity for which God created her. Love is not about pleasure or having fun. The devil (especially through society and the media) promotes going after pleasure and fun, simply because it is a distraction from God. Some people live their entire lives distracted from God by this filth and empty pleasure when God is calling them to love as He loves the entire time. Love is about getting the other person to attain the dignity for which God created them.

This is how Christ loves His Bride the Church. Christ is the Nymphios (Bridegroom). All marriage is based on Him. If it is not based on Him, it is not marriage. That is why "marriage" outside the Church is not marriage. That is why sodomite "marriage" is not marriage. Marriage is a Divine Institution, not a human institution. The Sacrament of Marriage is an imitation of the union between Him and the Church. The more a marriage mimics the union between Christ and the Church, the healthier it is. The less it imitates Christ and the Church, the more troubled and weak it is. 

If a marriage is being lived properly, one can see perfectly the love of Nymphios and Church in the husband and wife. The husband will give to his bride everything of himself, all he owns, all he is, even his very body, to take care of her, that she might attain the dignity for which she was created by God. He is willing to suffer anything for her sake, even the greatest pains. The wife receives his body in the marriage bed, where their union is most perfectly expressed. She reciprocates by giving him everything she has and everything she is, even her very body, that she might support him. She is willing to suffer anything for his sake. He is over her, protecting her, and she is under him, supporting him. He protects her that she might attain the beauty for which God created her and get to Heaven. She supports him that he might persevere in the Faith and reach Heaven. This is how God designed relationships to work; they are based on His relationship with His Bride. How does Christ treat his Bride? He gave all of Himself on the cross, all He owned, all He was, even His very Body to His Bride for her own good, that she might attain the dignity for which she was created by God. He is willing to suffer anything for Her sake, even death on a cross. The Church receives His Body on the altar, where the union of Christ and the Church is most perfectly expressed. The altar is the marriage bed of the Church, so thus it has four pillars and a canopy, like a marriage bed. She reciprocates His love by giving everything She has and everything She is to Christ, that He might take care of Her. She is willing to suffer anything for His sake, even martyrdom.

Anything that separates us from this love causes great pain. It feels like your limbs are being separated from you and a lance is perpetually piercing your heart. However, when that problem is resolved and the love of God pours back in to heal the wounds caused by sin, the joy is indescribable. Have you ever been on a plane as it takes off? The plane makes the last turn on the tarmac and straightens out. The plane moves forward a bit, then the pilot punches it. He goes full throttle and the plane shoots forward like a rocket and then goes up into the sky. The joy the love of God gives you makes you feel like you can easily outrun the plane when the pilot punches it full throttle.