Over the past several installments Cyndi has been sharing part of our sojourn in growing closer to God. I know for a fact that recalling some of those memories were painful for her for that was a time we were walking totally in faith with no idea where He was leading us. So many experience the same predicament day in and day out and we understand. We've been there; often times, we're still there. It is a constant struggle, and one Jesus said we would have in this imperfect, temporal world, this time that is so fleeting - like a drop in an ocean of eternity. That analogy doesn't even give it a semblance of imagination.
Some say "why couldn't you see where God was leading you." Oh, we can see, but we don't always understand. We must see with the eyes of our hearts and souls rather than just our physical senses and our minds. It is the latter that more often than not blinds us to where God is truly leading one in this journey on earth. Too often, we mistake signs as being from Him that really have their origins with the world, the flesh and the devil.
The culture of today can boggle the mind with the permissiveness and gray areas that defy the absolutes we were brought up with in our Catholic Faith. What we were taught as sins and the occasions of sins then - and those were mild compared to today - are considered by many bishops and priests today as human frailties that we can't blame the person for because of extenuating circumstances and other excuses that rationalize the sin without disciplining the sinner. Blame that on the mind, not the heart. The heart instinctively knows right from wrong, but the mind has been able to block the artery that clearly conveys to the heart the truths of Catholic doctrine. This has been done over forty years of fabricated catechesis that has marginalized our precious Deposit of the Faith.
Many may by now be asking what has this to do with being "At One with God and the Charism of Conjugal Love."
The answer is: everything! You see the very foundation of the sacrament of matrimony is built on the tenets of the true Faith. It is built on faith, hope and love. First - faith, which is trust. We must have trust in our spouse or self-doubts and suspicions of the other's intent set in and we all know how clever ol' horn-head is in worming his way in and casting these aspersions on our minds. Secondly - hope, which is continual optimism and gratitude to the Triune Divinity for primarily creating you, and secondarily for providing a soul mate for you so that together you can better travel the rocky road to eternity. That leads into the third theological virtue, charity - which is love, love for God, love for neighbor not because of his or her likable attributes, but because he and she are made in the image and likeness of God just as you are.
Wow! To some that's a revolutionary concept. But it is what has been taught for nearly 2000 years in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The fact that today so much is diluted and humanized makes our journey toward Heaven that much more difficult. And if it is difficult for those who are faithful, who love God and seek to do His Holy Will at all times, imagine how difficult it is for so many who really haven't got a clue why they are Roman Catholics except that their parents were.
Ah, ha. That's where the title of this installment comes in: "Look before you leap." This means to develop a Catholic curiosity that seeks first and foremost to please God. I guarantee you if you do that, you'll please yourself. In the course of doing that, you'll also please your spouse and those who know and love you as well. By looking before you leap you'll avoid getting into a 'bad marriage' if you're just starting out. By looking before you leap you'll avoid getting involved with someone not on the same spiritual wavelength as you no matter how great the physical attraction. By looking before you leap you'll keep the wandering eye from wondering 'what if' and cut down on the temptations that constantly assail us from all sides. By looking before you leap you'll avoid rash actions of wanting to bail out of a marriage just because things got tough or the 'grass looks greener on the other side of the fence.' By looking before you leap you'll avoid the "near occasions of sin" that are so prevalent in today's society.
So, you ask, how do I "look before I leap?" A good question that we will delve into in our next installment. Don't you just love how we keep you hanging? Hint, that's what God does, too. He knows what we're going to do because, well, He's God! But He has given us a free will to choose. He has also given us guidelines to make that choice clearer, to make it clearer for us to guide our children. These guidelines are contained totally in the great Deposit of the Faith. There are no so-called 'gray areas' - it's all there in black and white!
NEXT WEEK: Lesson Twenty-Four: Investing in the dividends of our Faith
For previous Lessons in this Series, see At One With God