Painting by Jesus Helguera

from Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

We are not considering the word “transported” in its emotional and rapturous sense, not as a paroxysm of exaltation, but rather in the sense of an ascent in a vehicle toward a determined destination.

Marriage is a trip for two. A trip. They travel ahead, enjoying mutual happiness on earth even as their destination gets nearer; and farther on, over there, up yonder, they shall both have the happiness of paradise.

Do I have my destination, our common destination, sufficiently before my eyes . . . sanctity here below, then death; then in the next life, the reward for our mutual efforts on earth?

How quickly we slip along hardly noticing our advance; I am scarcely aware of having started on the way. How distant the end seems; it escapes my sight; I am all taken up with what is right before me; I can’t see the forest for the trees.

Am I advancing? In sanctity? In union with God? In patience? In purity? In charity? In generosity?

How many questions? Am I really asking them of myself? And if I am, how must I answer them if I want to be honest?

But I am not alone. This is a trip in company with others. We are several; we are two not counting the children.

How do I conduct myself toward this company, my co- travelers?

How do I act toward the partner of my life?

A recent “before and after” cartoon gave a series of pictures indicating changes in attitude toward one’s life companion: During the engagement period, the young man is holding the umbrella very solicitously over his fiancee’s head with no regard for the rain pouring down on him. Shortly after marriage, he holds the umbrella between them so that each receives an equal share of the raindrops. A long time later in marriage, the husband is no longer concerned about his wife; he holds the umbrella over his head and lets his wife get soaked to saturation.

Is that a reality or only an accusation? Selfishness so quickly regains its empire. It is not always bad will; inattention, perhaps, plain and simple. Yes, but isn’t even that too bad?

What happened to all the little attentions of courtship and the honeymoon days? Those countless delicate considerations? The constant thought of the other?

There is the root of much suffering especially for the wife who is keener, more affectionate, more sensitive; she thinks she is cast off. She lets it be known on occasions. Oh, not bluntly, but with that subtle art she has for allusions, implications, and expressive silences.

She might upbraid: “If you were in such a situation, if you were with such and such a person, I am sure you would be so obliging, so engaging, so attentive. But it is only I. Consequently you don’t have to bother, isn’t that so?”

And, little by little, bitterness creeps in. It was nothing at all to start with. They made something– matter for friction.

I know a priest who wanted to preserve until he was at least eighty all the freshness of his priesthood: “I shall never let myself get used to celebrating Holy Mass.”

I should be able to say the same thing in regard to the sacrament I have received, the sacrament of marriage: “I will preserve my love in all its freshness. I shall remain considerate, delicately attentive. I shall do everything in my power to travel forward together not only in peace but in light and mutual joy.”

Never weary in cheering your family with your smile. It is not enough to avoid depressing them; you must brighten them up and let their spirits expand. Be especially vigilant when the little ones are around. Give them the alms of a smile, hard though it be at times. What a pity when children have to say, “I don’t like it at home.” – Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J. http://amzn.to/2rHXstq (afflink)

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The saints assure us that simplicity is the virtue most likely to draw us closer to God and make us more like Him.

No wonder Jesus praised the little children and the pure of heart! In them, He recognized the goodness that arises from an untroubled simplicity of life, a simplicity which in the saints is completely focused on its true center, God.

That’s easy to know, simple to say, but hard to achieve.

For our lives are complicated and our personalities too. (We even make our prayers and devotions more complicated than they need be!)

In these pages, Fr. Raoul Plus provides a remedy for the even the most tangled lives.

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