It is not good for man; it is not good for anyone to be alone. In the figurative and poetic language of Genesis we hear of how God made man from the dust of the earth and placed him in this wondrous garden. God created all the plants, birds and animals on earth and the man named each one, which gave him a relationship to what he named. But when all was said and done there was still no helpmate suitable for man. Surrounded by all these animals there was still no one to whom man could relate. He was still alone and God knew this was not good. So Genesis poetically tells of how God cast man into a deep sleep, took out one of his ribs and formed woman and brought her to the man.
I saw a plaque that told why God chose Adam’s rib. Not from his feet to be beneath him, nor from his head to be above him, but from his side to be his equal, close to his arm to be protected and close his heart to be loved.
We are all meant to be in some form of relationship, it is not good for anyone to be alone. The inner life of God is a life of relationships between Father, Son and Spirit. God’s works of creation are all in relationship one with the other. The vastness of outer space and the vastness of inner space all involve relationships, whether they be galaxies or protons. We humans are in relationship to all that shares Earth with us; the earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth and what we do to the Earth we do to ourselves. Everything is inter-connected, every person is inter-connected.
Marriage is the usual way for persons to live in a community of life and love. I have a sister and brother in law who just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. He’s a saint. Just kidding. God knows their 65 years together have not always been easy, but they stayed faithful to the vows they made to each other when they were crazy mixed up people. At the end of a wedding celebration I used to say, ‘father forgive them for they know not what they do.’ And they didn’t, they had no idea of what lay ahead but they committed their lives to each other. You good people know better than I do about all this.
Human relationships, as we all know, are complicated. I keep saying we are good people but we are also mistake making beings, complicated people. We have unresolved issues, happy and unhappy memories. Some of us have been lucky enough to have been touched by people who lift us up, encourage and support us, people who help us appreciate our gifts and goodness. Some of us have had just the opposite experience through relationships that have not been life giving nor supportive. We may have been wounded by relationships that have robbed us of a sense of self-worth. Living in relationship is an ongoing task as we seek to find that person to whom we want to commit our lives. As we know, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
The present statistics on divorce prove what a difficult task this can be. When people speak their marriage vows they really do mean what they say, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health ’til death. They do look forward to a long and happy married life. But the reality of raising children, the reality of going into debt, the reality of unemployment, the reality of poor health, the reality of unreal expectations of what married life would be like and the disappointments that come with that, the reality of taking one another for granted, the lack of growth in a relationship are all factors in the present sad reality of marital break down.
St. Paul tells us that before the world began God chose us in Christ to be in relationship with him as his adopted sons and daughters. And through his passion, death and resurrection Christ entered into a deeper relationship with each of us by his great act of life giving love. St. Paul described his own personal relationship with Christ in these words, “I live now not I but Christ lives in me and the life I live I live trusting in the Son of God who loved me and gave his life for me.” Every day of life we should try to deepen our relationship with Christ through personal prayer and trying to live the great commandment, love one another as I have loved you.
It is not good for man or woman to be alone. We are not mean to live ‘alone.’ Our lives are to be lived in relationship, no matter how that is worked out. As we continue to celebrate this Mass we pray for all married couples that they may continue to grow in their love for each other – we pray for those whose lives have been shattered by the reality of divorce, we pray that they may find new life and new love. We pray for children of divorced couples that they may never blame themselves for their parents decision to separate. We pray for all single people that they may find that special person who will be source of life giving love to them. And we pray for ourselves that we grow in our own personal relationship with Christ who is with us supporting us in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health all the days of our lives.