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I’m like a woven basket with holes in it. By the time I got married, my basket was pretty crooked, in need of repair. I felt like the Lord kept pouring His love into me and it just drained out the bottom. I was exhausted, trying to love others out of ‘be nice adrenaline’ instead of ‘genuine overflow-love’. The Lord showed me He wanted to heal my holes and make me ‘holy whole’. My husband’s endurance and love has been the ‘stopgap’ during this process. His virtue supports my good repair. This is one of the benefits of a Catholic marriage. Spouses really can be the tools the Lord uses to heal us. Lovers love better when they’re full of love.
Imagine two individuals each holding their own identity symbolized by a piece of rope held on each end by both hands. Now, imagine these two find each other and decide to let go of part of themselves to hold hands with each other. This is really beautiful, but as soon as someone starts pulling on them, they can easily come ‘undone’. When my husband and I decided to let go of our old self identities and give them to the Lord to hold, He was able to take those loose ends and tie them together into a knot. As the each rope rubs against the other, some of the external fibers (outer borders) are removed. It’s like sand paper. This rubbing allows our inner selves to touch, mingle and become one. The Lord can pour His love into each of our ‘ropes’ and that love flows into each of us and into each other. We end up with MORE love than we started. The two loves from God become one. This love can flow through us & energize us. The more we’re connected to God’s love, the more love can actually flow out the other ends of our ropes. This is the love we can use to love the world with.
I really believe that Pope St John Paul 2nd is so right in this quote. When we let the Father’s love flow (and keep asking Him for more and more of it every time we’re angry, hurt, disappointed or taken advantage of), we really start to think and act like Him. Our real capacity to reflect His love starts to be actualized!
What if every action we did for our household was done out of love? What If we really did wash the laundry and clean the toilet because we love the person who will use it next? What if we spent our resources wisely (our energy, time and money) because we loved the ones we share those resources with? Would respect grow in our families?
Catholics believe that marriage is a sacrament with a mission! Yes! How do you know what your family mission is? One way we’re figuring this out is to be honest about what gifts the Lord has given us. We know that all gifts are meant for us individually and for the good of the whole Church and the whole world. So, what are your gifts? (see pic above for ideas). What are your spouse’s gifts? What happens when they’re used together, synergistically? The two gifts become one and the sum total is greater than the individual parts. This is so exciting! What do we do with these gifts? Well, there are so many spiritual and corporal ways we can spend our time using them! Examine the merciful acts above. Which ones resinate with you? Which ones could really be done using the gifts the Lord’s given you? Marriage gives us so many opportunities to practice ALL of them! It’s a perfect setting to practice works that are merciful! And, when we spend time doing merciful works, we develop attitudes of blessing. (The Church calls these the Beatitudes.) Our mind actually begins to recognize blessings in so many situations. The veil of ‘unknowing’ gets lifted. This purposeful thought pattern and purposeful decision making leads to us bearing good fruit. Others get to benefit from these fruits as we bring them into every situation we’re in. They’re a part of us. And these fruits forge eternal virtues in us. We actually become people of virtue, with virtue. We begin to reflect God in ways we only dreamed of. We begin to bring light and hope to the world! And, we get to experience them ourselves first.