A HOMILY DELIVERED AT THE WEDDING OF LILIAN AND IKECHUKWU EZE ON THE 24TH AUGUST 2019 AT MADONNA CHAPLAINCY, NSUKKA. VOL. 6, NO. 6

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The priests here present, ladies and gentlemen, may the Lord be praised both now and forever Amen. Dear Kingsley and Lilian, the people of God have devoted the activities of the day for the success of your union. Marriage as ordained by God, is as old as humanity. Moreover, in our own time, it became a means of grace through the merits of the Pascal mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ. It has never been a contract. It rather moved from being a covenant to a sacrament. Among the seven sacraments of the Church, it belongs to the sacrament of service or communion together with the Holy Orders. The place of these two sacraments in our lives, calls for a serious business with regard to what is going to happen in you. That after the exchange of consent, you will become ONE. A mystery explainable from the point of view of multiplication and not addition. And if that becomes the case, then let’s talk about the love there in.
There are four distinct stages in the meeting of boys and girls. The last stage is courtship
Togetherness
Separation
Crystallization
Courtship
In the first stage, boys and girls enjoy one another with a natural love that is devoid of the troubles that come from sex difference.
In separation, we reach a moment in the life of boys and girls where they separate from each other. It is a very interesting and good stage that might be called polarization of positive and negative charges of electricity. You will never have sparks of love unless there is polarization at this moment. Hence in Physics, we can say that unlike poles attract while like poles repel. However, the irrationality of some men and women as a result of homosexuality have disrespected that divine plan that seems similar to the law of electricity. Moreover the stand of the Church remains unequivocal on this pastoral issue.
This separation or polarization allows each of them to develop their physical and psychical differences. For example, when the boys stay together, they learn to be great men, develop heroism, certain talents aptitudes, has his own ideas and has the potentials of men within him. And the girls on the contrary, if she is with other girls, she develops feministic of the right kind, delicacy, refinement; she begins to learn and understand that she has a reason that beats with the reason of the cosmos, and that she has the capacity to give to the earth a tremendous and mysterious creator’s possibilities. This stage of separation is really so ideal that at this point of life, it is very well to have boys and girls educated separately.
The third stage is crystallization. Crystals are objects that take on a seeming richness which is not their own. And so it is with boys and girls at their teens. They deal with one another very ordinary but they endow one another with great and tremendous qualities. They really are crystals but they think they are diamond and jewels. And at this age of crystallization, there is a divinization in which the boy calls the girl an angel, and the girl will say to a boy, “he is positively divine”. From the scriptural passages, we notice this crystallization characteristics. Psalm 45 for instance in V. 11 “So will your King desire your beauty. He is your Lord, pay homage to him”. God ordained them to have it. And that is why love and religion go together. Even in our secular music, Paul Play for instance became popular with his famous music, “the angel of my life”.
Simply because they do divinize one another and they turn crystal into jewels, there is something wrong and good about it. Meanwhile, the craving is right. It is at this stage that boys try to be gentle and dress properly and the girl at this stage discover lipstick, high heels, perfumes. This is also a stage when boys and girls are convinced absolutely that their parents know nothing at all about love. That their parents are old fashion, they are behind the times they loved in the 20th century and this is 21st century. This is an unfortunate stage, it’s not love but just a sap in the spring time. There is no courtship here. Despite the fact they go to agony, it is a tremendous anxiety, they suffer for time, the girls, has not appeared at the bus stop, the right time, the boy is already uncomfortable. The girl too complain if the boy doesn’t call at the appointed hour that she has a headache. If she sees him stopping and speaking to someone else at the street corner, then life is not worth living.
This is rightly what is called puppy love. And a little warning, a boy & a girl that get married doing puppy love, the chances of living a dog’s life later on will be there. Ik and Ij, I believe that you experienced that stage of crystallization with your girl friends and boyfriends respectively before you fell in love with each other and began what we call courtship. Of course, it’s an interesting stage in human life but improper appropriation can cause more harm than good.
Now we come to courtship, every courtship are characterized by affinity, sacrifice, femininity and praying together.
In affinity, it is good to remember that the strength in a man and the beanty in a womam do not long endure, they are given only to serve the purpose of allurement, and they pass away later on in life. So there must be some affinity beside the physical attraction, namely an interest one in the other. They need not be intellectual or graduate, but they must have one mind and one heart. The real test when they come to one another is to ask if they can share not only the joys of life but also the frustrations. A symphony is made up of a treble & base, there are indeed melody of notes but there are also counter points or seemingly conflicting opposing strings but in some beautiful fashion, they are molded to gather into harmony. So, it is in courtship, through affinity, that you learn to endure the cross and joys of marriage.
If the young man has the spirit of sacrifices, he has reverence for the woman.
There are certain extent of sacrifices which Ikechukwu might have made for Ijeoma as a result of love which convinced Ijeoma that this is the man whose nature is so divine and the elements mixed up in him that the same nature could rise up and say this is my husband. In marriage, such attention may not be constant but do not feel disappointed. Rather, it is a friction that enables marriage to move. I’m still remembering the advantages of friction in the New School Physics. That is why, at the reconciliation of any marital conflict looks like a renewal of marital love. Nevertheless, you need to be applying petting words and actions that smoothens stubborn frictions.
The next character of courtship is femininity, Lilian Ijeoma could not have at any point in time not proved to Kingsley Ikechukwu that she’s the best for him, and acquires all that he needs in a woman, beauty, caring, affection, and virtues of motherhood. Hence, just like President Harding, he may have said implicitly, to his wife, Lilian “here is to the face that could stop a clock and bid all times stand still in order that we might contemplate her beauty”. However I would expect you Ik to continue like the same President who even after 50 years maintained when he was once asked, at what age, is a woman most beautiful? He looked around, smiled and replied, at the age of my wife.
Now, this is the drama of courtship, they see in the spring time, in the birds, in the waters flow, in the moon and the stars, everything seems to speak about Love to them b/c the creator made everything out of love. And once they can recognize the hands of God in their relationship, marriage becomes an important and special stage to concretising all the characters of courtship. God is interestingly significant here because if human ecstasy can give them a lot of joy, then what will be the act of God, if the spark of human love is so bright, o what must be the flame which is God’s love.
What we observe in courtship is different from what we observe after marriage.
Incompatitbility in marriage is inevitable because we are built that way. It is in our fallen human nature, in our gender identity and in the way we love.
In our nature for instance, the tension between our body and soul when they demand different kinds of pleasure. There is tension in an individual between what he is and what he ought to be, between his existence and his ideals. Between the fact that he lives within finite realities yet strive for the infinite. In the midst of these tensions, always pray for the spirit of discernment.
In our gender identity, every cell in a man is male because each has 23 XY chromosomes. As for women, every cell they have is female because each contains 23 XX chromosomes. Now, there is 37 trillion cells in every human body. And considering the chromosomes in each cell, it goes then to infer that there are 37 trillion cells in a male, different from that in a female. That is the number of microchips God programmed into you telling you your gender. No plastic surgery can erase that. Gender is not a sign, it is programmed in our DNA over 37 trillion times. Now let’s go mathematical, taking one count to be a second, 1000 only will take us 70 mins, a million is 12 days (it goes exponential not linear), 2 billion is 32 years, a trillion times with no sleeping and no eating will take us 31,700 years. Against this backdrop, 37 trillion therefore will take us about 1.17 million years. It will take you over a million years to count the number of cells that identify you as a male or female. I believe that this mathematical mystery can go a long way to explain the biological mystery behind conjugal Love that leads to conception and reproduction. Angels and demons do not have this unassuming qualities. And so, the demons are always in constant battle against the union. Well, this is just an attempt to explain our gender incompatibility.
Another tension of incompatiblity is found in the way we love, there is a high tension between agape and Eros, genuine love and infatuation, between sex and loving sacrifice. Sex is concerned only with the function of the person but love is concerned only with the person. When couples find it impossible to reconcile these tensions, marriage becomes bored. Now, Ik, let’s be practical. When you were still a graduate, you could remember that you dated a girl for certain reasonable period. Say 2 or 3 years. At a particular moment, that dating became bored perhaps you could not find in her the interesting virtues of a wife material or motherhood.
Even as you have discovered those amiable qualities in Lilian, the only way love can conquer is through self-sacrifice and denial because married love is characterized with moments of exhortation and depression, it can only go to a higher level through a sacrifice. There has to be when the ego is crushed, for a new life demands some kind of surrender. The only thing that progresses is love, but it feeds on only one kind of fruit, the crushing of the ego. The beginning of a living for another.
Among every other activities that should characterize your union, there is one singular act that should not be lacking, and that is spiritual infusion. St. Paul says, “the believing wife sanctifies the unbelieving husband and vice versa. In other words the faith, the goodness, the virtue will pass from one to the other. Dr. Lisseir was not only a medical doctor but also the editor of atheistic newspaper. The religious wife was sick from 1905 – 1914, when she died. At the point of death, she said to her husband, “when I am dead you will become a medical priest”. The husband doubted Elizabeth and replied but you know my sentiments to live and die an atheist. Lizzy repeated what she said and passed away. The husband ramaging on her diary, he found a last will testament. “That in 1905, I asked the almighty God to send me a sufficient suffering to put me to pay to your soul, and on the day that I die, I shall have paid the price. My goodness, my suffering, my prayers were all pass onto you. Great a love that no woman has, laid her life for her husband. As a Dominican priest, he has never stopped quoting his wife. As my wife Elizabeth has said.
And finally, learn to pray together, if you can pray together, then there will be fidelity. And both of you will have the same conscience. Then you begin to understand why you wanted the infinity, and the angels and the divine, in the younger periods of crystallization. Now you begin to see that religion and love can be combined for a better home.

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