Archbishop Chaput’s Chrism mass homily from a few years ago is worth revisiting this Easter season. In it, he delivers remarks to his brother priests, but his message echoes in my mind as I think about the marriage of many good friends in recent years.
“When a man and a woman fall in love,” says Archbishop Chaput, “a kind of electricity runs not just between them but also in the air around them. The story of every true encounter with God is the same. Scripture is a romance. It’s a story of God’s love for humanity. When we give our hearts entirely to seeking God … we begin to discover and experience the same kind of electricity.” He later continues:
“I saw in the lives of those Jewish students the incredible durability of God’s promises and God’s word. … their covenant with God is alive, and permanent. God’s word is the organizing principle of their identity. It’s the foundation and glue of their relationship with one another — with their past and with their future. And the more faithful they are to God’s word, the more certain they can be of their survival.”
“We need to do everything we can to purify ourselves of vanity, and fear, and fatigue, and resentment. And to make ourselves worthy of that responsibility. Our own souls … will depend on the fire which should burn in our hearts. A fire of love for Jesus Christ, for the Church as our Mother, and for the people God places in our care. … God’s word never weakens. His promise never disappears.”
Christian marriage, summed up:
God as the organizing principle of their identity.
As the foundation and glue of their relationship across time.
As a fire burning in the heart.