Living out Your Divine Calling
In today’s Gospel we hear the account of the Wedding at Cana at which both JESUS and Mary were present as well as the Apostles. What a great list of guests! But this can be a reality too for Catholics who really desire it. At a Nuptial Mass Christ is truly present on the altar, just as He was at the Wedding at Cana. Although not sacramentally present, Mary and the Apostles are there too as the whole Court of Heaven is present at every Mass. The priest who has Apostolic powers stands before the altar and gives the kneeling couple a solemn blessing in the name of the Divine Master. Then a few moments later the couple partake of Holy Communion – the truly sacred banquet, far greater than any water changed into wine at Cana.
Marriage is a natural union elevated by Our Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptised (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] #1601). Scripture and the Church teach that marriage is between one man and one woman for life, ordered to the procreation of children and for the mutual love of the spouses (CCC #1652). The Church does not recognise divorce (CCC #1614) or ‘same sex marriage’ (CCC #2359) because that is not how God has determined things to be within the order of His Creation. Similarly the Church regards sex outside of marriage as sinful (CCC #2353). These rules are not invented by the Church. They are divinely revealed truths expressing the Will of God.
Like Our Lord, the Church is clear on these matters because of their importance to our lives, to holiness, especially within our relationships, and ultimately to our salvation, but She is also very merciful. Catholics in difficult situations are always welcome at Mass, and in the case of divorce and remarriage there is always the possibility of applying for an annulment, which if attained, enables those affected to receive Holy Communion again. The Church has great love for people in these situations. If you are affected by this, please talk to one of the priests about it.
As wonderful as marriage and family life are, they are certainly not easy. Neither is it always easy to be parents; to be single, to be a priest, a deacon or a religious brother or sister. Because of Original Sin, life can be hard and involve some suffering. But because of Christ’s gift of salvation, everything we experience, whether easy or difficult, whether joyful or sorrowful, can be an occasion of grace and an opportunity to grow closer to God. God never asks the impossible from us. Whatever our God-given vocation is, be it married or single, priest or religious, God always gives the necessary grace to fulfil it. Pray for the grace to both discover your calling (if you haven’t already) and for the grace to live it out.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC