REFLECTIONS. Extracts from Daily Thoughts August 2020

Aug 18, 2020

August 20.     Martin introduced a different subject with insights from his marriage counselling.   “Frigidity in some form can be a real issue in a sexual relationship. It could result from abuse earlier on in life from in or beyond the family. I had a case that took a long time and sensitive and intimate sharing between the couple before they were able to resolve it.” “And it’s not only women. Boys are abused too and that can impact on their future sexual relationship. All this may result in their developing a ‘heart of stone.”  

“A new heart I will give you and a new spirit. I will put within you and I will take out of your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  You shall be my people and I will be your God. Eze 36:26-28. Pope Francis: Many people leave childhood without ever having felt unconditional love. This affects their ability to be trusting and open with others. Unresolved issues need to be dealt with. It is important to ensure that each spouse has come to grips with his or her own history.  This involves recognising a need for healing, insistent prayer for the grace to forgive and be forgiven, a willingness to accept help and the determination not to give up. AL240  

August 21.  Although the discussions were not intended to be only religious the topic did often come up. Andrew wrote, “Many biblical sayings have been proverbs or norms in society. The commandment  “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” with its two parts is taken very seriously today.  There seems to be great emphasis on self-esteem and one’s own healthy self-image.  At the same time balance in a couple relationship is also very necessary.”   “Maysie commented,  “This is not about abuse but I still don’t want to be anyone’s doormat as has happened too frequently in the past.”  Joel stated,  “I think women are getting to be too overbearing nowadays.   We men just can’t handle that.”  Portia added, “We really need to teach our kids constantly to keep the balance.”  

You shall love your neighbour as yourself.  Matt 22:34-40.  Pope Francis: The ideal of marriage cannot be seen purely as generous donation and self-sacrifice, where each spouse renounces all personal needs and seeks only the other’s good without concern for personal satisfaction.  We need to remember that authentic love also needs to be able to receive the other, to accept one’s own vulnerability and needs and to welcome with sincere and joyful gratitude the physical expression of love. AL157      

August 22.  Amos jumped right in with, “It is not done in our culture for a man to sweep the house and serve his wife and family at table. I could never act like a servant.”  Joss and others added en mass, “What would my friends think.” “Are our gender stereotypes determined by others, or do we make our own decisions? They say peer pressure affects young people, but I think it is just as hard for us men,”  Most agreed and young man added, “Also in polygamous families how can a father be fully available to a larger number of wives and children?” They concluded, “But we have to do our best and be open to making the best decision together.”

He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12.      Some societies still maintain the practice of polygamy; in other places arranged marriages endure. The practise of living together before marriage is widespread, as well as cohabitation which totally excludes any intention to marry.  Legislation facilitates a variety of alternatives to marriage with the result that the characteristics of exclusivity, indissolubility and openness to life appear old-fashioned.  AL53

August 23. Sunday 21A.    Fr Joseph smiled to himself as he prepared his homily for the parish website. He thought to himself, “God really is amazing in creating men and women the way he did.  An important issue is their differences. At times this can be the cause of awful conflict and yet also a source of endless delight.  If only couples could be made to understand that.   If only the Church could come to a deeper understanding too about those deeper aspects of sexuality and not get bogged down in narrower issues of fertile times and contraception and avoiding gbv.  I think we do sadly miss the point.   I must be careful how I put that to the people.   I really want them to appreciate the wisdom of God in creation.   How can that come across in a homily?  It would need a whole retreat, or even a lifetime.”

O, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways? For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counsellor?” Romans 11:33-36.  Pope Francis:  The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures.   In this way they make their own that trinitarian dynamism which God imprinted in them when they were created.  LS240   

August 24.  Joel posted his message: “Gender based violence is a big issue these days in many ways. There are too many hypocrites in our churches and communities. In our church choir there are people who want to be seen as leaders but are abusing their wives or even having an affair. The frightening thing is that others know, but don’t do anything about it.  But no one really knows what goes on in families. I wish someone would write a “woe to you” letter to a guy I know.  It might make him wake up.” Anonymous commented, “So why don’t you write? We men all have to take responsibility.”

 “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.   Matt 23:13.     Pope Francis: Every form of sexual submission must be clearly rejected.  This includes all improper interpretations of the passage in Ephesians where Paul tells women to be subject to your husbands.  This passage mirrors the cultural categories of the time. St John Paul II wisely observed, “Love excludes every kind of subjection whereby the wife might become a servant or a slave of the husband. Paul goes on to say, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. Be mindful, “Be subject to one another.”  AL156.

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