Love can be demanding, but joyful

By Father Dennis Meinen
View from the Scooter

At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 5, 1994, Mother Theresa dared to speak her mind and heart about the right to life. I chose to share a couple items from her talk.

“Because I talk so much of giving with a smile, once a professor from the United States asked me: ‘Are you married?’ And I said: ‘Yes, and I find it sometimes very difficult to smile at my spouse, Jesus, because he can be very demanding — sometimes.’”

This is really something true. And this is where love comes in — when it is demanding, and yet we can give it with joy.

If we remember that God loves us and that we can love others as he loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak — the unborn child — must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for.

One time a man and his wife were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Many friends and family were joining in the celebration; however, the man was sitting alone, crying softly.

One of his friends came over and said, “Hey Jack, why the tears? Thinking about how fortunate you are for having married her?”

When Jack was able to talk, he said, “Fifty years ago, Lynn’s father said to me, ‘If you don’t marry my daughter, I’ll make sure you go to prison for 50 years!’”

He took a handkerchief out of his pocket and blew his nose: “Today, I would be free.”

I love to join in a celebration when couples renew their wedding vows. Their voices are often tender and soft because their present and lived memories break into the rite:

“I (N.) reaffirm my marriage vows and rededicate myself in the same spirit I pronounced when I took you (N.) for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, until death.”

Unlike Greg and Danielle. As they nervously repeated after me the vows for their first marriage, I started with the future groom. “I, Gregory, take you Danielle….”

With wide open eyes, like a deer in the head lights and with gritted teeth, he weakly said, “I take you, Gregory…”

I said, “Let’s try that again.”

Father, Gregory and Danielle are married in Christ. May Christ be your potion in happiness and your chalice in sorrow.  May Christ guide and watch over them, helping them to persevere in fidelity and love for the years ahead, which we pray will be many and blessed.

Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.

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