Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Family, a Kingdom and a Vision of Marriage

"...'Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue and have dominion . . .' (Gen. 1:25). Each family is indeed a kingdom, a little church, and therefore a sacrament of and a way to the Kingdom. Somewhere, even if it is only in a single room, every man at some point in his life has his own small kingdom. It may be hell, and a place of betrayal, or it may not. Behind each window there is a little world going on. How evident this becomes when one is riding on a train at night and passing innumerable lighted windows: behind each one of them the fullness of life is a 'given possibility,' a promise, a vision. This is what the marriage crowns expresses: that here is the beginning of a small kingdom which can be something like the true Kingdom. The chance will be lost, and an open possibility. Yet even when it has been lost, and lost again a thousand times, still if two people sit together, they are in a real sense king and queen to each other. And after forty odd years, Adam can still turn and see Eve standing behind him, in a unity with himself which in some small way at least proclaims the love of God's Kingdom. In movies and magazines the 'icon' of marriage is always a youthful couple. But once, in the light and warmth of an autumn afternoon, this writer saw on the bench of a public square, in a poor Parisian suburb, an old and poor couple. They were sitting hand in hand, in silence, enjoying the pale light, the last warmth of the season. In silence: all words had been said, all passion exhausted, all storms at peace. The whole life was behind- yet all of it was now present, in this silence, in this light, in this warmth, in this silent unity of hands. Present- and ready for eternity, ripe for joy. This to me remains the vision of marriage, of its heavenly beauty."

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