Reasons not to Divorce when Love is gone? By C.S Lewis

4 08 2013

reason not to divorceThe Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism—for that is what the words “one flesh” means, like when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined.

The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.

The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

As a consequence, Christianity teaches that marriage is for life. There is, of course, a difference here between different Churches: some do not admit divorce at all; some allow it reluctantly in very special cases. It is a great pity that Christians should disagree about such a question; but for an ordinary layman the thing to notice is that Churches all agree with one another about marriage a great deal more than any of them agrees with the outside world. I mean, they all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation.

Some of them think the operation so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases. They are all agreed that it is more like having both your legs cut off than it is like dissolving a business partnership or even deserting a regiment What they all disagree with is the modern view that it is a simple readjustment of partners, to be made whenever people feel they are no longer in love with one another, or when either of them falls in love with someone else.

Before we consider this modern view in its relation to chastity, we must not forget to consider it in relation to another virtue, namely justice. Justice, as I said before, includes the keeping of promises.

Now everyone who has been married in a church has made a public, solemn promise to stick to his (or her) partner till death. The duty of keeping that promise has no special connection with sexual morality: it is in the same position as any other promise. If, as modern people are always telling us, the sexual impulse is just like all our other impulses, then it ought to be treated like all our other impulses; and as their indulgence is controlled by our promises, so should its be. If, as I think, it is not like all our other impulses, but is morbidly inflamed, then we should be especially careful not to let it lead us into dishonesty.

To this someone may reply that he regarded the promise made in church as a mere formality and never intended to keep it. Whom, then, was he trying to deceive when he made it? God? That was really very unwise. Himself? That was not very much wiser. The bride, or bridegroom, or the “in-laws”? That was treacherous. Most often, I think, the couple (or one of them) hoped to deceive the public. They wanted the respectability that is attached to marriage without intending to pay the price: that is, they were imposters, they cheated.

If they are still contented cheats, I have nothing to say to them: who would urge the high and hard duty of chastity on people who have not yet wished to be merely honest? If they have now come to their senses and want to be honest, their promise, already made, constrains them. And this, you will see, comes under the heading of justice, not that of chastity. If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep.

It is true that by living together without marriage they will be guilty (in Christian eyes) of fornication. But one fault is not mended by adding another: unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.
The idea that “being in love” is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy.

The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits one to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry. But what, it may be asked, is the use of keeping two people together if they are no longer in love? There are several sound, social reasons; to provide a home for their children, to protect the woman (who has probably sacrificed or damaged her own career by getting married) from being dropped whenever the man is tired of her.
C.S Lewis





A Paralyzed Woman on The Front Line

31 07 2013

A Paralyzed Woman On The Front Lines

Every morning Connie opens Diane’s door to begin the long routine of exercising and bathing her severely paralyzed friend. She has to be fed everything, pushed everywhere. The creeping limitations of multiple sclerosis encroach further each year; her fingers are curled and rigid.The sun’s rays slant through the blinds, washing the room in a soft, golden glow. The folds of the covers haven’t moved since Connie pulled them up around Diane the night before. Yet she can tell her friend has been awake for awhile.
“Are you ready to get up yet?”
“No…not yet,” comes the weak reply from under the covers.
Connie sighs, smiles and clicks shut the door.
The story is the same each dawn of every new day at Connie and Diane’s apartment. The routine rarely changes. Sunrise stretches into mid-morning, by the time Diane is ready to sit up in her wheel chair. But those long hours in bed are significant.
In her quiet sanctuary, Diane turns her head slightly on the pillow toward the corkboard on the wall. Her eyes scan each thumb-tacked card and pieces of paper carefully pinned in a row.
The stillness is broken as Diane begins to murmur. She is praying. She moves mountains that block the paths of missionaries. She helps open the eyes of the spiritually blind in southeast Asia. She pushes back the kingdom of darkness that blackens the alleys and streets of gangs in east LA. She aids the homeless mothers…single parents…abused children…despondent teenagers…handicapped boys…and dying and forgotten old people in the nursing home down the street where she lives.
Diane is on the front lines, advancing the gospel of Christ, holding up weak saints, inspiring doubting believers, energizing other prayer warriors, and delighting her Lord and Savior. This meek and quiet woman sees her place in the world; it doesn’t matter that others may not recognize her significance in the grand scheme of things…
Some would look at Diane—stiff and motionless—and shake their heads. People might look at her and say, “What a shame. Her life has no meaning. She can’t really do anything. But Diane is confident, convinced that the Merciful Heart of Jesus cannot but hear her prayers, her labors of love.

 





Why Do We Suffer? A Clue From The Apple Tree

31 07 2013

Why Do We Suffer? A Clue From The Apple Tree

In the apple-growing state of Maine in America, I was visiting a farmer friend and saw an apple tree so loaded down with fruit that the branches had to be propped up to keep them from breaking under the weight of apples. When 1 remarked about the fruitfulness of the tree, my friend said to me, “Go over and look at that tree’s trunk down near the bottom.”
There I saw that the tree had been badly wounded by a big gash across its side. The farmer explained, “That is something we have learned about apple trees. When the growing tree tends to run to wood and leaves and not to fruit, we stop it by wounding it, by cutting into its bark. And we don’t know why, but almost always the result is that the tree turns its energies to producing fruit.”
Could that be a parable for some of us human apples trees in the God‘s orchard? Christ‘s death on the cross bore the fruits of our redemption. Some of the best people in the world suffered a lot; wounded, and purified by the pain, they bore great fruits of goodness.

 





He died for me, a man said at a boy’s grave

27 07 2013

This boy died for me, says a man at a boys grave

For many years after the Civil War an Illinois farmer used to visit a soldier’s grave at Nashville, Tennessee, tending it and planting flowers with much devotion every day. If some stranger asked him: Is that your boy?’ he would answer: ‘No, he just lived in our town. You see, when the war came I had seven small children, and my wife was not strong. I was drafted for the army, there was nobody to carry on the farm, and they would have nearly starved without me. We were in terrible trouble about it, and the very day I was going to report at camp my neighbour’s boy came and offered to go to the war for me. He said he had nobody depending on him, so he could go better than me. He went, and was wounded at Chickamanga, and died here in hospital. This is his grave.’

Then he would point to a rough inscription, which he had cut with his own hand on the tombstone: He died for me.
Christians are a bit like the Illinois farmer. They believe that Christ died for them. Thus, they in turn, live for Christ.





The man who blessed his killers

19 07 2013

A Man blesses those about to shoot him

In 1927, the Mexican government’s persecution of Christians took a cruel turn. They arrested a priest called Miguel Pro for preaching and ministering to the poor inspite of government ban on religion.

“What do you plan to do with this priest?” a junior minister asked in confidence.

“We will put him before a firing squad, watch him deny his faith in an attempt to save his life, then capture his cowardice on film and thereby disgrace Christians throughout the world,” replied President Elias Calles with a smirk while signing the order for Pro’s execution.

The president then invited government officials, members of the press and photographers to be present for the execution to witness and to capture on film the spectacle of disgrace that he was certain was about to occur.

On the morning of execution, a guard appeared at the cell door and called for Pro. Uncertain of what was awaiting him, Pro got up from the game that he was enjoying with the other inmates, squeezed his brother Roberto’s hand, and then turning to the other prisoners exclaimed, “Good-bye, brothers, till we meet in Heaven!”
The policeman who escorted him out was filled with remorse over the whole affair, and asked Pro to forgive him for his part in this injustice. Pro, by now easily guessing his fate, threw his arms around the officer and said, “Not only do I pardon you, but I am grateful to you, and I shall pray for you.”

The thirty-six-year-old Pro was led onto the firing range. He was still squinting, having come from a dark cell into the morning sunlight. But he could see from the outlines before him where he was. The major asked him, in a matter-of-fact way, whether he wished to express any last will. Pro answered firmly, “Permit me to pray.” Pro then knelt down, totally oblivious to the fact that he was on film and was having his picture snapped repeatedly. He very slowly blessed himself for the last time, kissed the crucifix that he held tightly in his right hand and crossed his arms over his chest. While in this posture he moved his lips in inaudible prayer.

Refusing a blindfold, the prisoner stood erect, and said calmly, “Lord, you know that I am innocent.” He raised his hand, blessed the spectators. Then, addressing himself to those who were about to kill him, he said, “May God have mercy on you. May God bless you?”

He walked briskly to the wall, faced the rifles, held out his arms so as to perfectly resemble the Crucified, and exclaimed, “With all my heart I forgive my enemies!” Then just before the order to fire rang out, he quietly, though not provokingly, spoke the immortal ejaculation of the Mexican martyrs, Viva Cristo Rey! The guns sounded, and he fell dead, riddled with bullets. To make sure he was dead, the soldier fired a shot at close range into his head just to make sure.
Ana Maria, Pro’s sister was the only one of her family present at the execution. When she heard the shots, all she could do was stand beyond the fence and weep.
Then something strange began to happen, something the Mexican government had not anticipated. Hundreds of spectators knelt down in the road Pro’s remains passed by in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. When the bodies were laid out for view Ana Maria was the first to venerate them. Crowds of mourners immediately gathered outside the hospital.

On the following day, thirty thousand people swelled the funeral procession. As they silently drove along, flowers were strewn before the martyrs’ path and dropped down from hundreds of balconies. Then the chanting started. Before long, thousands of people chanting in unison a thundering roar that shook the capital city, “Viva Cristo Rey!Long Live Christ The King!”Long live the martyrs! If you want martyrs, here is our blood!” This was the beginning of the end of the Calles’ government.

Miguek pro 3

pro funeral 1The crowd in Pro’s Funeral





The Boy Who saved a General : The Story of the Courage of Jose Luis Sanchez.

17 07 2013

The boy who saved the life of a General

In 1927, the Mexican President, Elias Calles, began persecuting Christians throughout Mexico. This violent Atheist sent soldiers to kill priests and burn Churches. To defend themselves, Christians formed a small army called “The Cristeros,” because whenever they went into battle they shouted: “Viva Cristo Rey!” “Long live Christ the King!”

Many of the Cristeros were captured and murdered and among them was a young boy whose name was Jose Luis Sanchez. When Jose heard of the Cristeros who were fighting for freedom, he joined them. In one battle, Jose was rushing to bring supplies to a fellow soldier; he caught sight of a General whose horse had been shot dead. On foot, without a horse, the General was extremely vulnerable, so Jose gave him his own horse. Moments later, José was captured by Calles soldiers and locked up. Soon, the soldiers decided to kill him.

On the way to execution, they struck him savagely with a sharp machete. With every blow, the young boy cried out, “Viva Cristo Rey!” When he got to the cemetery, he was bleeding heavily. His torturers had also cut off the soles of his feet and forced him to walk on salt. The boy screamed with pain but would not give in. As the road was nothing but rocks and dirt, the stones where he had walked were soaked in his blood.

“If you shout, ‘Death to Christ the King’, we will spare your life,” said one of the soldiers.
But the boy repeated, “Long live Christ the King!”

The commander ordered the soldiers to bayonet the boy and they pierced his body several times. But with every stab he only shouted louder and louder: “Viva Cristo Rey!” The commander was so enraged that he pulled out his pistol and killed Jose on the spot. There was no trial.

Jose is an outstanding example of faith and courage in defense of freedom. His story has been made into a film, “For Greater Glory” starring Andy Garcia. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1566501/





The little boy who was killed by a mob

15 07 2013

The story of a boy killed in the street by a mob

In the year 200, Romans persecuted Christians throughout the land. They arrested some, imprisoned and even killed many. Thus Christians hid themselves in the catacombs out of fear. From the catacombs, they usually sent someone to covertly visit the prisons and bring Christian nourishment to those condemned to die. At one point, there was no one to send, so they sent a 12 year old child whose name was Tarcisius.

The child passed swiftly through the city square; gentle, serene and thoughtful. His arms folded closely on his breast, guarding the Holy Eucharist which he was bringing to the condemned prisoner. Christians believe that the Holy Eucharist is the body of Christ”

On the way, Tarcisius met some pagan boys who knew him. They were playing.

“Hi there, Tarcisius! Where are you going? “A big boy asked.
“I am on an errand,” the child replied.

“How quick you go, and how mysterious you seem! Come here and play,” added another rough looking boy.

“Oh no! I have a task I must fulfill.” said the child.

“Indeed! And may we ask what you are holding there? “
“You can not see.” the poor child said, backing away
“Why?” asked the big boy
‘”Is it a secret.” asked another.
“Ah! A mystery? Cried another, excitedly, crowding in.
“Nothing is more amusing. Tell us, then!” said the big boy, eyes gleaming, and his big arm reaching out.

“O! Leave me, please,” pleaded the child again.

But the rough pagan boys blocked his path and said, “Give us your treasures!”
The child shook his head.

The crowd began to surge like a mob.

“What’s here – .’ A treasure. Oh! Where was it found?” cried one
Another shrill voice answered, “It is a Christian boy, who hides upon his breast some foolish toy.”

Like furious lions, the boys roared, “Open your arms!”

Twenty arms stretched forth, threateningly to the frail child, who answered steadfastly, “Never! oh, never!”

They leaped upon him, seized him. Yet they could not unclose his slender arms, clasped firmly on his heart enfolding the Eucharist.

The mob grew, strong and cowardly, struck the child’s head with their fists and felled him to the ground. He lay before them, trampled beneath their feet. He went down under the blows until a soldier came and drove off the mob and rescued the young child.

The child looked up at him, and knew him, for the soldier was a Christian, and the boy smiled. On the red pavement where he lay, his arms still crossed guarding the Eucharist, a trace of blood upon the brow and down the cheek. With his dying voice, in a soft and meek accent, the child said to the Christian these words, “Friend I bear our Lord for the Martyrs in prison.” and died.

His mangled body was carried back to the catacombs. He died yet still his cold hands lay clasped his breast with the Holy Eucharist guarded by a most faithful child. Only the Priest’s hand could avail, at last, to open those boyish hands shut fast in death and take from them the Lord for Whom he died! Tarcisius has long since been crowned and glorified, Boy-martyr.








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