Posted by: fvbcdm | January 23, 2012

Feast of Saint Ildephonsus (23 Jan 2012)

Years ago, I knew a young man who had married and whose wife then became involved with another man.  She left her husband to go and live with the other man, causing enormous grief to her lawful husband.  I can remember him telling me time and again that his greatest suffering was his inability to stop arguing internally with her.  When he was trying to concentrate on his work or on any other aspect of his life, he would find himself mentally composing conversations with her that would convince her of what a terrible thing she had done, and would persuade her to come back to him. I don’t think it ever happened.


During those very painful months, he read a number of books about marital separation and divorce; they agreed that infidelity within a couple who were once very much in love and who made permanent commitments to one another is one of the most devastating sufferings that we human beings can inflict upon one another.  And he was finding that out in fact as well as in theory.  


I am reminded of those two fairly often, because when we read the psalms in our daily prayer, we often come to the passages where God speaks of his people as his bride, and himself as their bridegroom.  He calls himself “a jealous God” who is enraged by the infidelity of his people.  This is symbolized very forcefully by the story of Moses who went up to the top of Mount Sinai to receive the commandments of the law from God.  On his way down, he is infuriated to see that the people have fashioned a golden calf which they are now worshipping in idolatry rather than the true God.  To indicate that the commandments were a covenant between God and the people, and that they had broken that covenant, Moses took the stone tablets on which God had inscribed the  commandments and smashed them on the ground, breaking physically what the people had broken in spirit.  


When you and I sin, we are being unfaithful to the Lord who loves us so much that he is jealous even of us, small and insignificant as we are. It’s almost incredible that God would become that interested in us.  But then, he made us IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS, and he does take us very seriously and love us very fervently.  Just as a very loving married couple are deeply devoted to one another and would never deliberately do anything to offend one another, so let us fear to offend God and do all we can to please and obey him, and thus carry out his holy will.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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