Sunday Reflections – Romance and Mystery

The kids are sick. The weather has cooled down. Tomorrow it begins all over again. Packing lunches. School drop offs. Planning, or more like wondering what’s for dinner then remembering that you’re the one that has to cook it! Before the hustle and grind of another week begins I find that more than ever before, I can’t go without my insightful hour of mass in the morning (or Saturday evenings). There always seems to be a richness in life lessons and a sense of community in the parish that fills me with hope and a breath of fresh air. A new day and a new chance to love and forgive.

In the weekly Parish bulletin today I came across the article below. I can totally relate. Seeing young love so spritely flourishing in the new relationships of my friends and some family members, to the more enduring, long lasting love of my parents and grandparents, reading about romance and mystery made sense. So below is an excerpt from the bulletin which can be found in full on the Resurrection website, if you’re interested. Otherwise I have shared the article from Smart Loving below with you in case you’re needing a little reminder like me!

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One of the things that makes a new romance so exciting and attractive is the element of uncertainty: Is this person really interested in me? Will this person really be the one I’ve longed for?

We can all relate to the thrill of the start-up relationship where the other is essentially still a stranger and quite mysterious to us. Where is this all going to lead? The suspense is both thrilling and invigorating!

The initial thrill is the stuff of movies and music and is an intoxicating experience. Yet it is also very limited. It captures nothing of the magnificence of a couple’s devotion which has stayed strong over decades and matured into a love that can be truly relied upon.

Deep Christian love depends on more than the romantic feelings that come from ‘falling in love’; it requires a deliberate willful and intentional loving.

“Over the years I’ve noticed that when pragmatism dominates our relationship, we are less playful and more prone to criticism. Conversely, when we are more romantic with each we are also more gentle and forgiving.” – Bryon

St Valentine Valentine's Day

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Fact File
St Valentine was a Bishop in Rome who was imprisoned for performing marriages for Christian soldiers against the decree of the Roman Emperor, Claudius II. While in jail, Valentine healed the blind daughter of his jailor and they became friends. He was eventually beheaded in Rome on February 14, 269AD, signing a farewell notes to the young girl with “From Your Valentine”.
His feast day became a popular celebration among couples in the eighteenth century, who expressed their devotion with greeting cards which were known as ‘Valentines’.
St Valentine is the patron saint of engaged couples, happy marriages, epileptics, travellers and bee keepers.

Keeping Romance Alive

Romance carries with it a sense of playfulness and delight in one another, and is not only for the young. Mature couples need it too. In fact, couples often ask about how to keep the romance in their marriage, because it is associated with relationship health and good will.

One way is to remember that we can never know all there is to know about the person we love there is always something more to know and love about him or her.

Romance happens because we are mystery to each other, and so an attitude of curiosity and wonder about each other’s differences helps to sustain a couple’s romance over the years. Men and women are different. Our differences can divide us as the years go by, or we can choose to see them working as a complementary force, attracting us deeper into the mystery of the other.

Mystery is foundational in our most intimate relationship because it connects us profoundly to divine love, which will always be a mystery to us.

The mystery of being loved so intimately by our romantic lover is that it reveals to us the urgency and intimacy with which God loves us: Can it really be that I am loved so deeply?

In Good Times…and Bad

It’s easy to feel romantic in the good times when things are easy between us and life is fairly simple. The early years, especially the newlywed period, are often high points in a couple’s love history when maintaining a romantic connection is uncomplicated.

It’s important for couples to be proactive in fostering romance in these good times lest they fall into the trap of thinking that romance is spontaneous and effortless. Too many couples founder because they fail to make the most of the opportunity to set up romance habits that will see them through their life together.

As heart-warming as young romance is, there is something even more amazing about the romance witnessed in couples of advanced years. Like the tender attention given to a spouse who is seriously ill or the patient acceptance of a spouse with dementia.

It is in moments such as these, when one’s devotion to the other surpasses expectations, that the world witnesses the real power of romantic love.

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And on that note, what have you got planned for Valentine’s Day? Are you the mushy type who loves to plan and has everything booked and organized months in advanced? Or are you the type that just goes with the flow and thinks it’s all a load of commercialized blah blah blah? Perhaps this year are you like me where you’ll be spending a nice quiet evening in sharing Valentine’s day with the kids and hoping they’ll go to bed super early so you can get your romance on! However you choose to spend the day, the week, the year, it doesn’t have to cost anything to celebrate your loved one and show them you care. Below are a few free activities that to try out!  Because every marriage matters. Bring that curiosity and romance back into your relationship.

The hubby and I circa 2003!

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p style=”text-align: center;”>The Lover’s Gaze Challenge
Make time to watch each other at work or play. Look into each other’s eyes with love and acceptance. Try holding your gaze for five minutes, using only your eyes to communicate your openness.

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Kinky Twister
This is a twist on the good old Twister Game and can be played at home when you’ve got the kids staying over the grandparents’ house for the night! It might need a little preparation (and stretching!) but we played it on my hen’s night with my girlfriends and it was so much fun! It would be even more fun with your hubby! Print a variety of “positions” from the net (I don’t know where my friend got all of them from but she managed to find heaps!). Then shuffle them, pick a card each, and try to get in that position without telling your partner what the name of the position is. You each have to guess the name of the position that’s written on the card and if you don’t guess right, you need to take a shot or a sip of whatever you’re drinking!

20 Questions
Find out something you don’t know about your loved by playing 20 questions. This activity is a great way to deepen your relationship and can get a little sentimental or could make you pee your pants from laughter! Take the time and listen to each other.

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p style=”text-align: center;”>1. What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
2. What’s the best party you’ve ever been to?
3. Which part of your body do you like the most and why?
4. What’s your favourite movie?
5. Have you ever looked in the mirror and winked at yourself?
6. What do you think your best and worst qualities are?
7. What soothes you the most after you’ve had a bad day or bad news?
8. Describe to me what your perfect day would consist of?
9. If you could change anything about the way you were raised what would it be?
10. If you could wake up tomorrow and acquire one new ability or quality, what would you want it to be?
11. What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
12. Who do you look up to the most and why?
13. What is your favourite memory with your mum? And your dad?
14. If you weren’t in the job that you’re in now, what would you be doing?
15. What could I do for you that I don’t do now?
16. When do you feel the most protected and taken care of?
17. If you could go back in time to your teenage self, what would you tell yourself?
18. What would you do in life if money wasn’t an issue?
19. What do you like best about our relationship?
20. What is your favourite chick flick?

2009 The Yuan Wedding

Where Love Begins

Reflection for this week


Where love begins
It’s easy to love at a distance,
but not so easy to love at close quarters.
It’s easier to give a few pounds to relieve famine in Africa
than to relieve the loneliness of someone living next door.
It’s easy to love people who are far away,
but not always easy to love those who are close at hand.
Yet, these are the people Christ asks us to love.
We must begin by loving the people near us.
That is where our love must start.
But, of course, it doesn’t have to end there.
And it shouldn’t.

love

The above reflection topic is for the readings John 13:31-33A, 34-35:

When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is
glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will
also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him
at once. My children, I will be with you only a little
while longer. I give you a new commandment:
love one another. As I have loved you, so you also
should love one another. This is how all will know
that you are my disciples, if you have love for one
another.”

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The Vocation to Love

Reflection
The vocation to love
The deepest wound of all is that which affects the heart:
the feeling that one has not been loved,
that one is not precious to anyone.
Many people today are wounded at heart.
Each of us can do something to heal their wounds.
We have hands that can make things,
and minds that can understand things.
But above all we have hearts that can give life.
We are not sterile people.
We can give life to people who are inwardly broken.
We can show them that they are important,
and so bring life to them.
Today, Good Shepherd Sunday, is also vocations Sunday.
But all vocations are vocations to love.

The above is an extract from my parish’s weekly published bulletin. Click here if you would like to read the full bulletin! :)

Happy Sunday everyone! Make the first hour of your week a happy, relaxing and reflective one by giving thanks for all your blessings and listening to the word of God. See you at mass! <3

A bundle of joy

“I feel keenly aware that my life will never be the same. Yet I wouldn’t go back for all the treasure in the world.”

sweet baby

We have been showered with presents from our friends and family on the arrival of the latest, most beautiful addition to our family. During the quiet time in our day, I sometimes read a page from a book we received from one of our godparents. I take the time to reflect on how blessed we are and how our lives have been filled with such joy. Here is a beautiful excerpt from a book by Angela Thomas titled “Prayers for My Baby Boy”.

sweet feet

Wonderfully Made – Angela Thomas

O God, This child You gave us is already so precious to me. He is Your creation, fearfully and wonderfully made. You deserve all my praise. I hold him against my tummy and cannot believe he came from me. Although I tried, I could not imagine the magnificent work you were doing in the secret place of my womb.

His skin is the softest I have ever touched – his fingers and toes, perfection. His full head of hair swirls in a silly and wayward fashion. It must be pure silk just spun by an angel. His big eyes with little eyelashes, his little bird mouth, his tightly clenched fists – I am intrigued by every part of him. Even the smell of his newness thrills me. I could linger forever at the nape of his neck, praying that I will never forget his fresh fragrance. I am awestruck by Your creation. I want to shout from the highest place, in my loudest voice, “My God is almighty; my God is miraculous.” I hold him tightly, and I sing. I sing hymns. I sing lullabies. I just sing. I praise You for this child who has come and filled a place in y heart –  mommy place that was there all along and waiting for him.

I feel keenly aware that my life will never be the same. Yet I wouldn’t go back for all the treasure in the world. How did I ever live without him? Thank You, sweet Lord, for the immeasurable  gift of our baby. “Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Hallelujah. Amen.

Book title: Prayers for My Baby Boy. Written by Angela Thomas. Photography by Julie Johnson. Harvest House Publishers

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stretch marks…

A mark for every breath you took,
one for every blink, every sleepy yawn.
One for every time you sucked your thumb
waved hello, closed your eyes,
and slept in the most perfect darkness.
One for every dream you dreamed with me.
…It isn’t very pretty anymore
Some may even think it’s ugly
That’s ok.
It was your home.
It held you until my arms could
and for that
I will always find something beautiful in it. – Cassie Fox

I saw the above passage in an image on my Twitter feed and thought it was very touching. I gained a few stretch marks on my left hip during pregnancy and some underneath my belly button but after meeting baby for the first time last week, those marks remind me of the 39 weeks he lived in me – what an amazing and unforgettable experience. I am in awe of how the human body works. Take care of yours – it is the only place you have to live.

Below: original pic (Unknown Source)