Husband & Wife Articles


 

A Marian Meditation

The author offers his wife an Advent love song

By Bill Keimig

Advent is as much about the Second Coming as it is about the first coming. It is as much about the end times as it is about the entry of Christ into time. Advent prepares us for his coming as Savior, present in the flesh, both as the Babe of Bethlehem and as the Judge of Nations. He is here – in us, in history, and in the promise of a future with only one path – his final Lordship.

The Keming Family

Jesus is our Lord and Savior. I have heard it said that Jesus cannot be my Savior, if he is not my Lord – meaning that I must choose to allow him to be the Lord of all things in my life, if he is to preserve my life. As St. Augustine phrased it:  “God, who created you without you, will not save you without you.”

In this Advent season, the Church points us to the trusting journey of a husband and his pregnant wife, ninety miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. As a husband, this familiar image leads me to think about how God asks me to grant him full Lordship over all that my wife is to be for me. Do I allow God to work through the “Marian ministry” that she is called to give me as her “Joseph”?

Mary was a spiritual force for her husband. What is my wife to me? How is God given Lordship over me through her? Speaking directly to my wedded helpmate, I have written this little meditation:

You are my cloister, the place I find solitude and enclosure and prayer.
You are my tester, the source of the hard questions and uncompromising accountability.
You are my intercessor, the wall of prayer against the darkness.
You are my peacemaker, the one with whom all must be well for anything to be well.
You are my great forgiver, the human that most offers me mercy, imaging God’s offer.
You are my pacesetter, tethering me to a spiritual growth rate suited to my needs.
You are my simplifier, the call of God to remember the essentials of returning love for love.
You are my sacramental glue, ever pressing me to the sacraments for my good.
You are my passion, the woman to whom my body rises and offers life.
You are my dreamer, the only one with whom I may dare to plan a vocational future.
You are my flower, a fleeting gift of beauty and attraction, natural, from God’s hand.
You are my thorn, the soul-mate with the faults meant to chisel my virtues.
You are my friend, the advocate that reminds me that the heavenly Advocate loves me.
You are my harbor, my heart’s place of trust, always in the Truth.
You are my altar, the vocational place I am to die to myself.
You are my surrendered soul, the one who has dared to need me, within the heart of God.
You are my Marian image, calling me to be the Joseph that I should be.

And I also then offer to my wife this Advent thought: Your joy, my dear Heather, must come primarily from a meditation on the Blessed Virgin Mary seeking to please the Father by pleasing the incarnate Son in her midst. Joseph was well-served by Mary's devotion to Jesus, and loved through it, but he was not the focus, or the prime motivation. My role as husband is, partially at least, to help you define the works and the focus of attention that will please our Lord in your spousal vocation. Loving me in a right-ordered way is simply a form of loving God.

This well-ordered love touches me as well. I can’t love you and act consistently in loving ways towards you if I focus on you as my primary source of consolation and motivation. My acts of spousal love must be, more rightly, transformed by being acts of faith and acts of thanks to God, who cannot be out-thanked or over-praised. With my love directed first to God, there will be for me an endlessly deep well of love from which to draw strength in the stretching and striving of matrimony – loving in return, ever as a debtor to a gentle Giver. Our Advent Giver awaits, in darkness, under the Virgin’s heart, soon to be born into a marriage that shared the mutual recognition of their newborn as Lord.

Bill Keimig writes from Maryland, where he lives with his wife, Heather (who wrote the Husband & Wife column for May 2011), and their five children.