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October 5, 2006 Edition

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Living the Scriptures
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Marriage: Keeping it flourishing by trusting in God

photo of Tom Braunger

Living the Scriptures 

with St. Paul University 
Catholic Center 

Tom Braunger 

Perhaps we took Mark's mention of Christ's words about marriage too literally: ". . . and the two become one flesh." But God's wonderful grace can help married couples get closer to that ideal.

After all, even during the marriage ceremony, there were signs that the "joining" was going to be a tad rough. I was very nervous, and stumbled over the term, "legal wife," blurting out "illegal wife." My wife, on the other hand, prophesied on our marriage by accidentally dropping off the word "obey" in the "love, honor, and obey" vow.

But we did share the core idea that there was God's grace and if we trusted in him, "coincidences" would get us though hard times.

27th Sunday
in Ordinary Time
(Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006)
Gen 2:18-24
Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Heb 2:9-11
Mk 10:2-16 or 10: 2-12

For example, a "coincidence" was that I decided to see a parish priest a few months before the ceremony to get some advice on marriage. He said to "be careful what you say during a fight, especially the first year. Stinging words can open wounds that last years."

Later, when we had a "disagreement," my tactic, instead of throwing out harsh words, was to go racing out of the house and walking around the block until I cooled down sufficiently. The neighbors must have thought, as I shot around the block so many times, that I was completely nuts. But it was a big help in getting through that first critical year.

Another "coincidence" was that we both decided to try a Marriage Encounter just as we were becoming complacent about our relationship. The sessions were intense but helped to refresh the love when it was needed.

The trust in God's grace, putting everything in God's hand, came many other times in our marriage: the anxiety in raising two children, the hectic job of both of us teaching, a mid-life crisis rearing up, even a three-month stay in a nursing home after I had fallen on ice and broken several bones.

When things became too jarring and terrifying, we'd just put it in Christ's hands.

The first few times were frightening and a little humbling, putting a crisis in someone else's hand. It was almost like stepping off a cliff, hoping there was a supporting edge below.

Reflection questions

• Do you recognize "coincidences" in your life that, on reflection, were probably God's help?

• What things can you, your spouse, and God do to make your marriage even stronger than it is now?

• What keeps you and your spouse from turning to God more often for help?

And sometimes, there was no answer that we could discern, times few and far between - but it did keep us from taking that help for granted and being grateful when it did appear.

So it came down to a trust in God's unconditional love and limitless guidance to help us if we asked for it.

But like a man having to ask for directions (which I still hate to do), it takes humility to admit when it's beyond us and also to count on someone's kindness. Yet with Christ, it was like asking a brother for help in a crisis - and God has come through so faithfully and completely.

Tom Braunger has been a St. Paul University Catholic Center community member for 32 years, working as part of a marriage preparation group.

St. Paul's Web site is www.stpaulscc.org

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Faith Alive!

Faith Alive! logo

In a Nutshell

  • We are fed Sunday by Sunday in the Eucharist in order to become the Lord's disciples to the world.

  • Hope is one of the greatest gifts the Eucharist provides for the world. Hope often is lacking as people face daily struggles.

  • In the Eucharist "we become bread for the world's bodily and spiritual hungers," says the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.

    Catholic News Service
    3211 Fourth St NE
    Washington DC 20017
  •  Food for Thought
    The Eucharist encompasses "the reality both of being loved and of loving others in turn. A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented," Pope Benedict XVI said in his 2006 encyclical "God Is Love."

    The Eucharist dynamically connects people to the world around them with all its profound needs and challenges, the pope indicated. He said: "In sacramental Communion I become one with the Lord, like all the other communicants. ... Union with Christ is also union with all those to whom he gives himself."

    Pope Benedict said: "I cannot possess Christ just for myself." In the Eucharist, love of God and love of neighbor are "truly united." God's love "comes to us bodily in order to continue his work in us and through us."

    The pope continued this discussion later in the encyclical when he said, "The saints -- consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta -- constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbor from their encounter with the eucharistic Lord." Conversely, "this encounter acquired its realism and depth in their service to others. Love of God and love of neighbor are thus inseparable."

    full story

    The Eucharist, the world and all that it contains
    By James M. Schellman

    Catholic News Service

    The gathering of the Catholic community of faith for the Eucharist on Sunday is as ancient as the resurrection itself.

    The Gospel narratives differ in a number of details regarding the final days of our Lord's life. They agree, however, in placing the resurrection on the Lord's Day, the first day of the week, what came to be called Sunday.

    full story 

    How to pray for the world's specific needs
    By Father Robert L. Kinast

    Catholic News Service

    Karl Barth (1886-1968), the great evangelical theologian, once was asked how a Christian should pray for the world. Barth reportedly answered, "With the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other."

    A Catholic variation on Barth's advice might be to pray for the world in the eucharistic liturgy, which, of course, includes the Bible.

    full story 

    Conveying eucharistic hope to the world
    By Father Herbert Weber

    Catholic News Service

    For five years I celebrated Mass each Friday with inmates on Ohio's death row. It became an exceptionally holy experience for me.

    That's not to say it wasn't also an awkward setting for liturgy. Inmates were moved by guards from their cells to the indoor recreation cage. Once they were there, I was allowed to set up for Mass outside the cage, in the passageway.

    full story

    Faith Alive! logo
     Faith in the Marketplace
    This Week's Discussion Point:

    Do you ever pray for the world you live in? What is your prayer for the world?

      Selected Response From Readers:  
    Copyright © 2006 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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    This week's readings

    Week of October 8 - 14, 2006

    Sunday, October 8, 2006

    Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
    Reading I: Gen 2:18-24
    Reading II: Heb 2:9-11
    Gospel: Mk 10:2-16 or 10: 2-12

    Monday, October 9, 2006
    Reading I: Gal 1:6-12
    Gospel: Lk 10:25-37

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006
    Reading I: Gal 1:13-24
    Gospel: Lk 10:38-42

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006
    Reading I: Gal 2:1-2, 7-14
    Gospel: Lk 11:1-4

    Thursday, October 12, 2006
    Reading I: Gal 3:1-5
    Gospel: Lk 11:5-13

    Friday, October 13, 2006
    Reading I: Gal 3:7-14
    Gospel: Lk 11:15-26

    Saturday, October 14, 2006
    Reading I: Gal 3:22-29
    Gospel: Lk 11:27-28

    Pope's Prayer Intentions

    October General Intention

    Mature faith: That all those who are baptized may mature in their faith and manifest it through clear, coherent and courageous choices in life.

    October Mission Intention

    World Mission Day: That the celebration of World Mission Day may everywhere increase the spirit of missionary animation and cooperation.

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    Prayer for St. Raphael Cathedral

    O God,
    Whose word is like fire,
    who spoke to Your servant Moses in the burning bush;
    who led Your people Israel out of bondage
          with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night:
    hear Your people as we call upon You
    in both need and gratitude.

    May the Cathedral fire purify Your Church
    in the Diocese of Madison
    so that our hearts may burn with the knowledge
          that Your Church is built upon the bedrock
    of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

    Through the intercession of Saint Raphael,
          Your messenger of healing,
    in union with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,
    and with our Bishop, Robert C. Morlino,
    may we find comfort in our affliction
    and the courage to proclaim
          the Good News of Jesus Christ,
    who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
    one God forever and ever.


    For more prayer resources visit the Office of Worship's Web page at www.straphael.org/~office_of_worship/
    (Click on the link on the main page.)

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