O Gift


Neal family Christmas photo 2015

In honor of today’s Gospel, I would like to share a poem I wrote for my wife and first posted here in 2012.

In that Gospel, Jesus says: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” The Church’s teaching on the vocation of a married couple is unambiguous: Whether your spouse is a difficult unbeliever (1 Cor. 7:17) or you are both saint-aspirants (Eph 5:21ff), your primary path to intimate union with God in Christ is found in and through loving your spouse and — from that center — loving any children God may have gifted you with. St. John Paul says in Familiaris Consortio:

Christian marriage is in itself a liturgical action glorifying God in Jesus Christ and in the Church. By celebrating it, Christian spouses profess their gratitude to God for the sublime gift bestowed on them of being able to live in their married and family lives the very love of God for people and that of the Lord Jesus for the Church, His bride.

Every little or large act of love in sacramental marriage and family possesses the whole power of the world-transfiguring divine liturgy, as your covenant bond extends the Cross and Resurrection of Christ into the nooks and crannies of that portion of the history God has entrusted to your influence.

And Pope Francis most recently said in Amoris Laetitia:

Those who have deep spiritual aspirations should not feel that the family detracts from their growth in the life of the Spirit, but rather see it as a path which the Lord is using to lead them to the heights of mystical union.

I believe this is one of the most profound statements on marriage and family life ever made by the Magisterium. This is the “nuptial mysticism” appropriate to the vast majority of Christians. Let’s develop a new spiritual literature that unfolds these depths! May this be the century of canonized saint-couples who found their mystical perfection in the imperfect tangles of domestic life and amid the vibrant passion, mundane routines and varigated colors of till-death marital love.

To all of you married men and women, look today at your spouse’s face — on your children’s faces — and see your royal Way into the abyss of Trinitarian life and love.

To my wife, Gift

O Gift overflowing, poured lavish grace
God-art etched in your lovely face,
for you are His constant gaze on me:
May I the same for you always be!

O Gift held reverently in my trembling hand
you are a thousand callings, myriad sand
beckoning my love be faithful and true;
for to love God best, I must first love you.

O Gift of royal service, my only Crown
for you I daily live to lay my life down
as once for all did our greatest King
whose Passion – pray! — my life can sing.

O Gift stolen down from heaven’s immortal Fire
for you my heart burns with deathless desire,
as you drench my world in melodies sweet
singing into my winter’s cold a lover’s heat.

O Gift, the Father’s daughter entrusted to my care
with you may I never once risk or even dare
to seek God apart from your joy-giving face
or fail to make our love His dwelling place.

8 comments on “O Gift

  1. trudymm says:

    Beautiful! Exquisitely sculptured Dr. Neal, luv it and also the utilization of the martial graces that seems to be torrential in your marriage. You are the catalyst being used by the Holy Spirit for what follows, a sonnet of sorts:

    👠Thank God by Divine Fate
    👠You two were to be marked, signed & blessed to pass through God’s romantic gate

    🎩Destined in time was to be the appointed date
    🎩For being granted the gift of Sweet Pea Patty to be your soul mate

    👠Only something that grace could ever rate
    👠God alone knowing who would be the one that could for you pleasantly satiate

    🎩Witnessing your thankfulness is a beauty so great
    🎩Praise the Lord, family life is something you all cherish & really appreciate

    👠That fact comes across very well, a point with raw honesty you sincerely communicate
    👠A salute for excellently using the matrimonial sacramental graces, a smart couple for choosing to actively participate

    🎩May every familial opportunity to serve and be served afford much happiness in which you can forever partake
    🎩Lasting a lifetime, might passion & gusto be abundant for two growing as one in God never ever to abate

    👌As creativity begins to unwind
    👌Spiritual energy follows closely behind

    👌Creating and bringing to life one after another what’s termed the rhythmic rhyme
    👌When the inspiration is there, it’s possible to do so on a turn of a dime

    👌Ever so gentle is the nudge that leads forward to an upward incline
    👌Every minute is satisfying, therefore swallowing up the need to pine

    👌The process is spiritually titillating every single time
    👌So grateful as melodious phrases unfold with the capability of enchanting because of the poetic chime

    👌The ability is there to freely proceed without being trapped in a word bind
    👌At present, hopes are high that most will like what they find

    👌Wonderful if favorable responses follow that is kind
    👌But truthfulness is what matters most, be it harsh or be it benign

    👌The mesmerizing key is the Holy Spirit’s help being all mine
    👌When everything falls into place like dominoes, He’s present, that’s the telltale sign

    👌Distortion gradually fades away & clarity dominates every single line
    👌Making it possible for the senses to find that which can edify & something to sumptuously dine

    God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense~G.R.A.C.E.!
    MC= Sometimes it takes but just a trace
    2 help successfully weather da storms we face
    / \ http://gigapostolate.weebly.com/ tmm/PTL

  2. Sherri Paris says:

    Absolutely beautiful! (And so is your family!). God bless you , Tom.

  3. Joe says:

    Thomas who are those young adults with you and Patti???????

    How blessed are you two… P.B.W.Y.A.A.

  4. From your poem I can see that you have been blessed with a wife, woman of grace. Patti seems to radiate from her face a great love for God and family. May you both inspire other married couples to do the same. Our Church and Country will be the better for it.

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