Are You Willing To Receive God's Graces ?

    Just before a wedding ceremony, the bride asked the priest, "Father, can you do a favor for me." "If I can", the priest said. She continued, "Here is the deal; when you take the consent from us - "I promise to be faithful to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and to honor you all the days of my life"- can you omit - 'bad, in sickness and all the days of my life' parts? If you do, I will give you $2000." The priest said, "I will do my best." After the wedding was over, the bride rushed to sacristy and asked the priest, "Why didn't you do as I asked you?" The priest said, "Well, I had a better deal from the groom."

    There are two issues widely spoken with regard to marriage. First, these days, many don't want to get married; they prefer to live a life of cohabitation. Second, some choose civil marriage and do not want to get married in the church. Many of the marriages are broken even after considerable time of living together. Apparently the reason is that there is a struggle to keep the vows and live truly as a married couple.

    One thing must be clear in the mind of Catholics. Every baptized Christian receives God's different graces: actual grace, sacramental grace and sanctifying grace. Each of these graces has a different role to play in the life of Christians. Actual grace, for instance, is the grace that prompts us to act - that gives us the little push we need to do the right thing. Sacramental grace is the grace proper to each sacrament that helps us to obtain all of the benefits from that sacrament. But what is sanctifying grace? Sanctifying grace means living life of God within your soul. We receive this grace from the very fact that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world and sanctifying the humanity.

    Sanctification means "to make holy." When we are sanctified, we are made more like God. It is a participation in the life of God. We receive this grace in the Sacrament of Baptism; it is the grace that makes us part of the Body of Christ, able to receive the other graces God offers and to make use of them to live holy lives. The Sacrament of Confirmation increases sanctifying grace in our soul. Whereas the sacramental marriage enables the couple to sustain in sanctifying grace enabling them to live in deeper communion with God.

    Outside of the Catholic Church, marriages are not treated as a sacrament. Those who are not sacramentally married reject willingly the sanctifying grace (life of God within their soul). To restore and sustain it they need to enter into the Sacrament of Matrimony after contrite of heart and other follow up. Even if the follow up is a burden, just do it.

    I urge all who are married outside of the church to seriously think about the fact that you are not receiving sanctifying grace of God. Come on, muster up your courage and approach me, I shall show you the way. Where there is will there is a way. Kudos to those who are sustaining in sanctifying grace in their Sacramental Marriage!

    There is a classical description of marriage by a famous American psychiatrist. "Marriage is three weeks of curiosity, three months of intense love making, three years of quarrels and controversies, and years of mutual adjustments." Mutual adjustment means praying together, understanding each other, listening to each other, accepting each other, forgiving each other and loving each other. The sanctifying grace that a couple receives in the Sacrament of Matrimony will give grace and strength abundantly to live years of mutual adjustments.

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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