We were just starting on our corn on the cob when Bernie launched in.

Bernie: Why did Our Lord not marry?

You’re never at your most graceful and composed with a mouth full of hot corn and melted butter dripping down your cheeks, so let that excuse my spluttering.

Me: (Splutter)

Ant: Well, who would he have married anyway?

Charlie: But what if he had fallen in love?

Bernie: Seriously: why didn’t he? Marriage is good isn’t it?

Dominique: He’d have to have lived happily ever after!…

Anna (That’s Mrs T. – Looking straight at me): He was too wise.

(That goes straight over Dominique’s head, but the others exchange glances…)

Me: It’s a good question, though. Why didn’t he? I think Dom is onto something.

B: What did you say, Dom?

D: I said he’d have to live happily ever after!

B: That’s silly!

Me: No, it’s not. He knew he had come to die for us: would it have been good to marry someone knowing that?

A: That can’t be the reason though!

Me: So what do you think?

A: Well, maybe it was because he loved everybody, and didn’t want to single just one person out.

B: But what about the Beloved Disciple? And His other close friends…

A: That’s not the same.

Me: So what do you think, Bernie?

B: Perhaps it was to show us that it can be done: you can live a perfectly fulfilled life without… you know… celibate.

D: What’s celibate?

A: Not getting married.

Me: What about you Charlie, what’s your theory?

C: My considered opinion is that the more butter, the better the corn tastes.

Me: Very true. But what’s your theory about Our Lord not getting married.

C: Well, I think he had a more important job to do, and getting married wasn’t part of it.

B: What about you, Father? Everyone else has said their ideas. Is one of us right, or is there something else we haven’t thought of. Because I think you were just stalling…

Me: I think you are all right.

(Groans from everyone).

Me: No, listen: Mother is right that Our Lord was all-wise, so clearly getting married would not have been the right thing to do. Dom was right that it would not have been very fair on his wife, given that he knew he was going to die for us. Ant was right that he loved everybody, and singling out one person for married love would not have been a good sign of that. Bernie is right that he sets us an example: sacrificing something good for a greater good – and demonstrating that celibacy is a true vocation. And that brings us to Charlie: he was right that Our Lord was totally fixed on his vocation: the important work he had come to do.

Ant: Why does everyone always have to win? You’re so keen to please everyone!

B: And you never come up with the answer yourself, just get us to talk about it.

Me: And that brings me to my answer: filial piety.

A: What?

D: What’s that?

Me: It means loving and honouring your father: remember the fourth commandment. Something you lot could think more about! But Our Lord fulfilled it perfectly, and what he did was his Father’s will. Think how often we are told that in the Gospels.

B: So is that the real answer: he was obeying His Father’s will? That’s good, of course, but it doesn’t help us a lot.

Me: No, it’s not the real answer: it’s one of the real answers. Remember, he did everything for everyone, so you can always learn by really thinking about what he did – do that prayerfully, and it’s called meditating. And I meant it when I said you were all right: those were all real answers, and there are probably many more besides. So our job is always to think of all these things: how can we find out and obey the Father’s will, how can we best love those around us, how can we discover and commit to our vocation, how can we set a good example… and so on.

Dom: You’ve got butter all down your chin!

So that’s it for this week: the challenge is, how do we help our kids to discover their vocations, and really commit to them…

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2 Responses to Keeping Your Kids Catholic: Why didn’t Our Lord marry?

  1. What a great bunch of kids you have!