Bishop: Married couples have little time for God – or themselves

   ‘The health and happiness of marriage is rooted not in jobs or homes or money or cars but in relationships’ – that was the message from the Bishop of Elphin Dr. Christopher Jones recently as families from all over the diocese meet up in Athlone to celebrate marriage anniversaries.             The celebration took place on the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 10th at the Church of SS Peter and Paul. Speaking during the Homily, Bishop Jones said, ‘As we celebrate the anniversaries of your marriage we are celebrating not only God’s love and fidelity for you but we are also celebrating your love and fidelity for each other and for God.             ‘We are not, for one moment, suggesting that your married life has been a bed of roses. You are human life the rest of us. You have had your moments and maybe hours of tension. You have had your misunderstandings, your moments of impatience and intolerance, your days of poor communication and maybe days of silence – not empty silence but silence full of anguish, anger, regret and remorse. But you did not allow the challenges and the crosses that came your way to shatter that underlying bond of love that unite you with each other and with your God in the Sacrament of Marriage.             ‘We live in a Celtic Tiger culture today where success is measured in terms of the money you earn, the house you live in, the car you drive and the power you exercise. Therefore people driven by this culture will invest all their energy, all their time and all their efforts in their job, in their home, in their car and in their hobbies. Both parents will work away from home all day and have little time or energy for themselves or their God in prayer. People who take their relationship for granted are on the road to disaster.             ‘The health and happiness of marriage is rooted not in jobs or homes or money or cars, but in relationships. Our greatest joy in life comes from healthy and happy relationships. Our greatest pain and suffering comes from broken and betrayed relationships. The greatest pain, the greatest sin on earth has to be when a husband or wife walks away from the one who loves him or her. Rejection of that nature is a living death. Therefore couples must invest more time and energy in their relationships.             ‘The tragedy today is that married couples have such little time for God or for themselves. Even Sunday, the Sabbath, the Day of Rest becomes the day for the supermarket which has become the Church for so many and where purchasing consumer goods replaces prayer. The spirit deep down within is the source of our greatest joy and happiness. The more possessive we become with money and things material the more our spiritual lives are impoverished.’