Spousal Prayer

{I want to begin this blog by promoting the ’cause’ of a woman I came to know in Iowa that I consider to be truly saintly: Sr. Pat Scherer. And here I mean by saintly holiness in work boots. She gave most of her consecrated religious life to the service of the ‘least among us’ (especially immigrants) in a spirit of bright joy and feisty humility that left me forever changed. In fact, she opened me to an abiding affection for Sudanese St. Josephine Bakhita, to whom she was deeply devoted. You may not have known Sr. Pat, but let me say she is a worthy candidate for this award — click here if you want to see and agree}

Okay, on to today’s topic…

I have to say that Deacon Jim Keating at IPF in Omaha is one of the most human of theologians I have ever known, and everything that comes out of his theological mind is veritable gold. I remember when Bishop Pates in Des Moines and I interviewed Dr. Keating on the radio, the Bishop remarked during the break: You can tell he prays.

If you are someone who likes to listen to podcasts, Discerning Hearts has a trove of Keating audio files that are worth downloading. Click here.

But today I am writing about Dr. Keating specifically because I just found out that his latest book is out, and its on one of his favorite subjects: marriage. The book’s core thesis is that marital intimacy, which includes the sharing of the whole of one’s life with one’s spouse, includes the sharing on one’s relationship with God in prayer. In fact, inasmuch as marriage is a sacrament its very essence is a mutual giving of divine grace that, in the ideal, draws each spouse deeper into intimacy with God. Spousal prayer, in this sense, unlocks the latent power of the sacrament to become grace-dealing in marriage and family life; and becomes a source of redemptive healing and transformation. And let me say that this book’s wisdom not just for spouses, but it’s also a very useful source for preachers and pastors whose vocation is to cultivate the life of prayer in married couples.

Read this summary and consider getting a copy:

Spousal Prayer: A Way to Marital Happiness affirms that the sharing of hearts is a necessary commitment in both marriage and in prayer. If we can learn what the key elements of sharing the heart are, and equally what the key elements of receiving the heart of another are, then we will know the greatest of intimacy in both prayer and in marriage.

The mingling of the love of spouse with the love of God has always been the foundation for a life of marital peace, creativity, and vibrancy, not to mention sanctity. In fact, we cannot even understand what marriage is unless we look at how Christ loved His Bride, the Church, till the end (cf. Jn 13:1). For the baptized, Christ has joined His love for the Church to the Sacrament of Marriage.

Each couple is called to allow Jesus to bring them into this great love of His. The couple is not supposed to do all the “work” of love, but rather is called to let Jesus gift them with His own spousal love. In other words, couples should let Jesus live His spousal love for the Church over again in their own love for one another. They do this by simply asking Him in prayer to do so, and by sharing their deepest needs and desires with Him. Marriage is not a “self-help” relationship; it is a deep partnership with Christ.

7 comments on “Spousal Prayer

  1. […] {I want to begin this blog by promoting the ’cause’ of a woman I came to know in Iowa that I consider to be truly saintly: Sr. Pat Scherer. And here I mean by saintly holiness in work boots. She gave most of her consecrated religious life to the service Go to the Source: Neal Obstat Theological Opining   […]

    • Anthony Bennett says:

      She beat me to it! 🙂

      Also, I just want to affirm the idea of sharing about prayer with your spouse. Among the practices of the community group we’ll be joining in coming weeks, is the idea of a “Husband/Wife Meeting”. It gives you a wonderful, structured way to discuss “business” items (which is fantastic for being on the same page about projects and upcoming events), but more importantly, it gives you a structured place to bring up more serious topics. One couple recommended the following discussion points, and we find they work well:

      1) Love: How has your spouse made you feel loved?
      2) Honor: What has your spouse done that you want to honor?
      3) Correction: What has your spouse done that irks you, or where have they failed in virtue? (Note: Hold off on correction outside of meetings! You *will* remember if it’s really worthwhile.)
      4) Prayer: How is your prayer life going? If there are problems, discuss how things can be improved, or how they can help.

      • Very practical, meaningful and rich. If your intimacy is not intentional, it won’t happen; which makes your suggestions here so useful. Thank you for sharing “out of the depths” of your married love and friendships.

  2. I bought a copy for Anthony and I before I even finished your post.

  3. MaryBob says:

    Totally believe it. Will pick up the book. Rich material to share w/ FOCCUS couples. Just read the blog to Bob. Thanks again for another great recommendation, Tom! Have a wonderful Holy Week, Neals! 🙂

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