COR THOUGHTS 240: Anxious to Please the Lord

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In this weekend’s second reading, St. Paul tells us that an unmarried person is anxious to please the Lord, while a married person is anxious to please his or her spouse. Of course, as St. John Paul II notes, every Christian who lives his faith fervently is anxious to please the Lord (see TOB 84:1). Indeed, spouses “please the Lord” greatly by living their marriage vocation faithfully. And an important aspect of that fidelity is recognizing that married love – as great as it is meant to be – is not the ultimate satisfaction of our heart’s desire. It’s only a foreshadowing of the eternal Marriage of Christ and the Church. A person can “be anxious,” John Paul II tells us, “only about what is truly close to his heart” (TOB 83:7). As important as a spouse should be to one’s heart, the Lord should be more important. “I am telling you this for you own benefit,” Paul says, “not to impose a restraint on you.” He’s not telling people they shouldn’t marry. If that is their “gift from the Lord,” they should. But they shouldn’t treat their spouse as a God-substitute. This is the power of the celibate witness when it is lived as Christ intended: it doesn’t devalue marriage; it shows us that the ultimate fulfillment of marriage is what the saints call “nuptial union with the Lord.”