By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 September, 2014
The Church must find new ways of listening to the special witness of married couples which, based on living out of their Sacrament of Matrimony, can often be a true source of theological reflection, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said on Sunday.
Speaking at the 25th anniversary of the opening of St Maur’s Church in Rush, Co Dublin, the Primate of Ireland, who will represent the Irish Church at the Synod on the Family in Rome in October, said the Church does not just teach married couples; married couples inform Church teaching.
He added, “This is something which should be taken up at the forthcoming Synod of Bishops.”
Referring to events internationally, Archbishop Martin said we see how a culture of hatred and fanaticism challenges world peace.
“As we look around us and at our world, we see the opposite of love; we see what hatred can create and do to the lives of those who are its victims,” he observed.
He continued, “These recent weeks have been weeks of extraordinary and frightening violence and cruelty on the world scene, especially in the Middle East” and he asked the parishioners to pray “for our Irish peace-keeping troops around the world and for their families.”
Closer to home, the Archbishop said there were “sadly many examples of hatred and blatant disregard to the lives of others in our own country.”
“Think of the numbers of murders and shootings which now take place in Ireland,” he said.
“Think of the sense of revenge which that hatred generates. Think of those who are trafficked and exploited.”
Recalling that Pope Francis uses the image of doors in relation to the Church, Archbishop Martin said the Pope reminds us that the doors of our churches must remain open so that people can enter and encounter the healing power of Jesus.
“They must be doors which do not have invisible security screens which try to keep out those whom we may not like or may be different. They must be doors which are not one-way, which tempt us to remain enclosed within the Church building as a Church just of the comfortable and the like-minded.”
Of the way of Jesus, he underlined that it is the way of obedience to his Father.
“Obedience is a difficult concept for us to accept. For us the idea of living in obedience to someone else appears as something that denies our individuality and our humanity.”
“We seek a self-fulfilment which is often described principally in terms of me as an individual. We are all tempted to place our needs as the crucial measure of what is important to us.”
That temptation is not just personal to each of us, he warned.
“We can create communities which are self-centred and inward-looking. The Church too can become over focused on itself, its structures and the mechanics of its structures, rather than witnessing to what is essential,” he observed.
We can only understand what obedience to God means when we understand who God is.
Our God is a God of love and obedience to God can never then be just about obeying rules and norms.
Obedience to God means living a life in which we respond in love to those around us and to the world around us.
Obedience to God means realising that we find fulfilment in love not through being narcissistic and self-centred, but through giving ourselves in love, as Jesus showed his love even through accepting an unjust death, Archbishop Martin said.