Saint Paul TRIED to Warn You, But You Got Married Anyway

Oh, Saint Paul, you crack me up. Always truthful, never one to mince words. I like to imagine him patting a distraught young wife on the hand as she tearfully confesses her marriage struggles, and saying to her, “Well, I did try to warn you.”

This is one of those passages in the Bible that can feel almost insulting to read, especially if we are fighting to champion the truth and goodness of marriage in a culture that has lost respect for the institution.

At the same time, most of us just flat out DON’T BUY IT. Sure, we are happy that some folks choose to pursue their celibate vocations as priests, sisters, religious, or consecrated single people. But don’t we quietly figure it’s just terrible for them, and wonder if anyone could be reasonably expected to suffer it?

But it is clear from not only Saint Paul, but also Jesus himself, that a faithful single life is for “those to whom that it is granted” (Matthew 19:11). Not that one can endure it, not that it is a worthy sacrifice, but because they have done it for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.

So, to those of us who are unmarried, we’d do well to heed Saint Paul’s advice and prayerfully consider if God is calling us to the gift of remaining that way.

But what about those of us for whom that ship has sailed? Those of us who, like the beautiful woman of today’s psalm, find ourselves married? Well, we are on the hard road through life to salvation. But hard is not the same as bad. And if God has called us to this life, it must be because He knew we needed to do it the hard way.

We can expect that in marriage and family life there will be sorrow and tribulation. There will be hunger. There will be weeping. There will be hatred, and exclusion, and insults. Jesus says. It’s right there in the beatitudes. (Luke 6:20-23) But He also tells us that, faced with these trials, we should “rejoice and leap for joy” (Luke 6:23) because it is THROUGH those trials that we will find salvation, and Heaven.

We should “rejoice and leap for joy” (Luke 6:23) because it is THROUGH those trials that we will find salvation, and Heaven. Click To Tweet

Let us pray for each other’s vocations.

Kendra Tierney is a forty year old mother of nine and wife of one living in and working on a big old fixer-upper house in Los Angeles. She’s a homeschooler and a regular schooler and is counting down the days until her oldest turns sixteen and can take over some of the driving! Her new book, the Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life, will be published on October 7th. You can find that here, her first book, A Little Book About Confession, here, her blog here, and her word art here.


  • Reply
    September 12, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Honestly when I think about how great marriage is for making me holy I sometimes want to look at religious and say “how the heck do YOU get to heaven?!”

    I think it’s because I’m called to marriage and not religious life 🙂 I probably wouldn’t do that hot at getting holy as religious seeing as God didn’t want it for me.

    • Reply
      Kendra Tierney
      September 12, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      Yes! I once had a discussion with a religious sister who came from a big family and she made the interesting point that religious have to do more active mortifications because they don’t have as many opportunities for passive mortifications.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    I’ve always struggled with this reading as someone who is single but has always strongly felt called to marriage and motherhood (and discerned with guidance). I know religious life is a “higher” vocation since you are living for Christ only. But in my case, I don’t think I’m called to single life, and it is a very heavy cross. Every vocational situation has its hardships, and I know family life isn’t easy, but I just find it so difficult when people might look at my life and think it’s not hard – that I chose the “easier” way. No, it’s the hardest, most sanctifying aspect of my life – which is probably why that’s where God has me, ha! I’d love to know more context behind this reading because it’s never made sense to me.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Glory to Jesus who shows us how to live and and be in right relationship with our Heavenly Father. One must heed all the words of scripture as they all point to one thing, living in unison with Jesus and in right relationship with our Father. “The better part” of Mary at the feet of Jesus is not affirming an exterior vocation but rather an attitude of the soul. It is also important to acknowledge that Martha chose to do a good thing at a bad time. St. Paul even changes his opinion of marriage in his later years of wisdom as he saw what marriage can be. He even elevated it to a sacrament, an exterior sign of the invisible love of Jesus and His Bride, the Church ! (Eph 5:25-33) A person should not regret their choice of marriage because of the struggle, as Jesus struggled and labored as He handed Himself over on the cross. The priesthood and religious life have many of the same or similar struggles as we are all in a quest to quiet our hearts to listen to the Lord Jesus Christ who whispers both love and shows us our depravity and need for Him! All vocations end in the same goal, and our goal is heaven! Our goal is living in relationship with our Father and each other! It is a sad warping of the truth to claim that one is easier or better than another and it is a human thought broken by the pain in this world. Do not lose hope that heaven is in your grasp now, no matter how the Lord is calling you to grow in love in your vocation! May Jesus bless you and thank you for your reflection!

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