September 23.  Romance, disillusionment, joy belong to a cycle of stages in marriage.  At the beginning of their marriage enrichment programme the couples were asked to consider in which of these three stages they saw their marriage to be. It is often considered that romance is for the early days, is followed by levels of disillusionment for most of the rest of their lives together and ends with a kind of peaceful co-existence.  That is a sadly negative picture and Joan and John were encouraged to hear that this need not be so.   Romance can be made to come around, at times like Valentine’s Day, but can be even more frequent. Disillusionment, and even down-right misery, are realities but through making a decision to love, communication, building and strengthening the relationship and a willingness to forgive a much deeper stage of joy can be achieved. They both agreed, “We learned that feelings are neither right nor wrong.  Also that love truly isn’t just a feeling it is a real decision, one I am willing to make over and over, for our sake and God’s.”After further reflection Bernard asked, “How do you feel about the possibility of the RDJ cycle being applied to other relationship issues, ours with nature and even ours with God?”   

The word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet: Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses, while this house lies in ruins?  Now consider how you have fared.   You have sown much and harvested little, you eat, but you never have enough, you drink, but you never have your fill, you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm, and he who earns wages puts them into a bag with holes.   Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house that I make take pleasure in it and appear in my glory” says the Lord. Haggai 1:1-8   

Pope Francis:  Desires, feelings and emotions, what the ancients called “the passions,” all have an important place in married life. Reaching out to other things always has basic affective signs, pleasure or pain joy or sadness, tenderness or fear.   Human beings live on this earth and all that they do and seek is fraught with passion.  AL 143

ECO-TIP AND PRAYER:  On social media start an ecological renewal campaign with the slogan “Love is……………………     Pray for an increase in love as the basis for change.