Friday, October 3, 2014

Padre Pio to Ephisians 5:25

My friends always tell me they can barely understand how I get from one thing to another. So see if you can follow. 

Tonight I was reading a biography of St. Padre Pio, which was so powerful I honestly could only read a short portion of it. As it began to describe the sensations he experienced as a stigmatic I started to for some reason think how unbelievably powerful the love of Jesus is for us. The suffering of Christ was never something I could actually comprehend. Somehow hearing it through the words of Padre Pio made it more human. How amazingly strong His love for us was and that of the Father. How many people would be willing to give their only child to save sinners? To give them into that level of suffering and humiliation? And Jesus... who would you be willing to suffer to that degree. Who would you ask to save by being tortured to death?

And then it struck me. In Ephisians 5:25 Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. So our husbands are supposed to love us that much. And what is asked of wives? To respect her husband. My husband's vocation is to love me to the point of being willing to be tortured to death and what do I owe him? Respect. How often have I failed at this calling of mine to respect him. So little is asked of me compared to the enormity of what is asked of him. And yet I struggle to show him the respect that I am called to give my husband. But more importantly, that he, because of who he is, as a person, deserves.

Its always weird to me that a covenant marriage is compared to or confused with a contractual marriage. My understanding of a contractual marriage is we both give 100%. But we keep score of whose turn it is, what is fair, and make sure to keep an eye on the other person to make sure they really are giving 100%. A covenant marriage is I give to you with no expectation that it will be returned. I give without receiving. Obedience, and self sacrifice are unfashionable today but that is what God wants of us. To try, as stumbling as we may be, to be followers of Christ. And through this obedience, self sacrifice and sometimes suffering I have experienced the most joy, love, and happiness. God knows what is best for us and we have to muster up the courage to trust, discern and follow the path he has for us. Because through His grace we find peace. Through his grace we get closer to this eternal love and desire to know him that lives in every seeking human's heart.

It strikes me that this is what is not understood too often in marriage that I do not owe him respect because he is willing to give himself up to be tortured. I owe him respect because he is my husband. I read once something I thought was so funny. The bible doesn't tell wives to love their husbands because we do easily. It doesn't tell husbands to respect their wives because they do easily. It asks us what is hardest. By our natures we stray from the goal. The deepened understanding of Christ's suffering I gained from reading St. Padre Pio's biography has made me understand so much I can barely put into words. While I make daily efforts to show my husband respect I need to try much harder to show that respect to him. Because what is required of him seems so incredibly impossible. And frankly I respect him for even attempting to fulfill his calling. 

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her..."

Wow... what a calling. Its almost anticlimactic when all wives are asked is that "the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." It doesn't say husbands earn your wives respect. It is the wife's responsibility to respect her husband. And yet this seems to me an impossible mountain. When compared to how a husband is commanded to love his wife. How little is asked of us but yet I feel like the amount of respect is supposed to be somehow proportionate to the love he is supposed to show for me. 

Oh right... Did I forget to mention the S word... submit. We are asked to submit to our husbands. I honestly have no idea what that even looks like. I think it has to do with giving up pride, ambition, and something about not constantly telling him to watch out when we are driving. But I'm try to figure it out. If you have a clue let me know ;) Respect I feel like I know how to do... but its still really, really hard.

  25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also doesthe church, 30because we are members of His body. 31FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFEAND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

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