Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Reason We Stumble

(Read the comments on this post) Here is the reason we stumble. Think carefully with me. Here is the reason we stumble at the God centeredness of God and the Christ centeredness of Christ. We stumble because we do not know what love means. America has been taught a wrong definition of love for about forty years. I’ve grown up in it, I’m fifty-eight, its all I breathe, if I hadn’t been breathing Bible. The definition of love in America is, you love someone if you make much of them. Or, turn around, you feel loved when someone makes much of you. That’s the air we breathe in America. Every advertising, all parenting philosophy, all public education is built on that definition of love and its false. I’ll give you a quiz to see where you’re on this. Question: Do you feel more loved by God when He makes much of you? Or, When He at great cost to Himself enables you to enjoy making much of Him forever. Which is it? They’re not the same. One you’re at the center, the other God is at the center. I’ll give the alternative definition of love. Love is not making much of someone. Love is laboring, and suffering if necessary, to enthrall another person with what will make them eternally and infinitely happy, namely Christ. I’ll say it again. This is massively important in America because we breathe an air that makes God our lackey. My self-esteem is God, it’s the ground of my health, it’s the ground of my success, it’s the ground of my parenting, it’s the ground of my teaching, it is the air I breathe; don’t call that into question Piper; you get nowhere except maybe at Passion. Where students are already been drawn by some mysterious love for the theme of the glory of God. Let me say it again. Love is not making much of someone. Love is laboring and suffering in order that you might enthrall your enemies, your friends, your family, with that which will make them eternally and infinitely satisfied, namely Christ. That’s what love is. And if it is, then God’s constant exalting of His glory for our enjoyment is the most loving thing He could do. You may not copy Him in this, unless you are God. If, if there were a person in this room infinitely beautiful, infinitely worthy, infinitely valuable, infinitely satisfying the most loving thing for that person to do would be to get attention from all of us and say look at me, look at me, look at me but there is nobody here like that. There is one being in the universe like that, there is one all glorious being, one infinitely valuable being, one all beautiful being, God in Christ crucified and risen and reigning and coming and therefore in order for him to be loving He must say look at me, look at me, look at me. Its not vain, its love. John Piper (Passion 2005, Session 2) References: John 11 and John 17 Watch the video

The grace of the sacrament of Matrimony

1641 "By reason of their state in life and of their order, [Christian spouses] have their own special gifts in the People of God."147 This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple's love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they "help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children."148

1642 Christ is the source of this grace. "Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of Matrimony."149 Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another's burdens, to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,"150 and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb:

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father? . . . How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.151

Read the Catholic Catechism