Along with our admiration comes a lot of us keeping friendly tabs on him. As it turns out, Matt has been engaged for a while, and actually got married earlier today (Congrats to him and his wife!). I was mentioning this to a couple of friends, and we all brought up the fact that one of the (obvious) joys of marriage is that you are able to be intimate with your spouse.
Consummating your marriage, renewing your vows through the marital act, becoming one flesh - all of this should be an act of love. It sounds so easy when you write it down like that. And yet during, and after the discussion with my friends, I was left thinking of how much of a MAN you would have to be in order to be a loving husband. That even in the throes of making love, when it would arguably be easiest to think of yourself and your own wants and your own desires, it is your responsibility and duty to put your wife first. To love as Christ loves.
Christ Loves us Freely: "No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord" (John 10:18)
Christ Loves us Fully: "Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end" (John 13:1)
Christ Loves us Faithfully: "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20)
Christ loves us Fruitfully: "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him will bear much fruit" (John 15:5)
Mulling over in my mind these "Four Fs" of Christ's love for his Church, along with the discussion I was having with my friend, really humbled me. Although I am not married yet (to a woman or to the Church), the same virtues and temptations are present in my life. To be greedy. To think of myself first, and others last. To treat or talk about women disrespectfully. As we continued our discussion, I realized I could not even fathom the amount of self sacrifice it would take to truly place my future wife on the same pedestal that Christ places the Church.
At the Life Teen convention in June, Matt Maher was giving a testimony, and he brought up the fact that he was engaged. He then carried on with this: "I think that we need to celebrate more life at funerals, and more death at weddings." We're all called to love as Christ loves. And how did He love? By dying; by giving up His very life so that we might live. Like I said, especially in relation to a spouse, I cannot even begin to fathom this. Perhaps that's why I don't know my vocation yet - I don't quite yet know how to love. All I can do is ask for the Grace, and through my every day interactions with my family and friends, with my best buds and with the women I know, to place myself in the backseat and lift them up through the power of the Cross.
To Matt Maher and his wife, to all married couples, and to the clergy dedicated to the Church, may God bless your continuing witness of sacrifice and faith.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the Church to Himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind - yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).