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Posts Tagged ‘marriage sacrament’

The “partner-ship” is the most important vessel for traversing life’s ocean with boldness, confidence, and meaning.

Carl Jung referred to the soul as Anima (male) and Animus (female). Syzygy is a term denoting the complementary conjunction of male and female, conscious and unconscious, that creates Fullness (or the Pleroma).

As a man blessed over several decades with a wonderful partner, a life-long soul-mate and best friend, the truth of syzygy is tangible and compelling. When the joining of male and female form a truly insoluble union, in which neither part loses its identity, a greater, more complex, and sacred radiance enters the world.

In ancient Christianity, at a time of great interpretive diversity, there was a sect that practiced a sacrament that has been lost to history. They called it the consolamentum, or the “sacrament of the bridal chamber” of which matrimony is an anemic descendent. Performed only occasionally, the charism represented advanced spiritual development. While the details of the practice are lost, one can intuit its character and sanctity, especially through a permanent relationship; a lifetime’s commitment expressed in tangible ways every day.

What is the practice?

The essential thread that runs from my awakening in the morning through my sleep at night, and then into my dreaming, is my wife’s voice and presence. Whether our emotions are running high, the issues difficult, or the conversation comforting, my encounter with her life breathes mindfulness and meaning into mine. My pleasures every day are heightened by the knowledge and expectation of sharing them with her later, and my worries, fears, concerns and conflicts quieted by that same knowledge.

The practice of the consolamentum, as I envision it, is exquisitely simple, yet more profoundly real in amplifying the  Spirit than any other. The practice involves highly concentrated dialogue, prolonged silences wrapped in affection, and listening with both the mind and body.

This morning, I am moved to generate the kinds of questions that might fuel these special moments of consolation and inspiration as we practice the sacrament of the bridal chamber as initiates.

I begin with 5 questions that arise in my meditation here this morning that she and I can explore later:

1. Where do we see the sacred, hear a call, and feel the presence of the Beloved in our individual lives? Where do we see the same in our life together?

2. How does our union color in palpable ways our time when together and apart?

3. At what other times, places, and circumstances do we feel something akin to this Presence?

4. Since sacraments are alchemical processes, how are we advancing the transformation of the silver of our ordinary time together into gold?

5. What blocks the power of our union and what action do we need to take to nurture it and further unleash it?

In approaching all sacraments we need to first be prepared.

The steps involve: (1) spiritual clearing (washing away the residue of the day’s activities, distractions, and concerns); (2) purification ( a time of quiet meditation); (3) a dedication (a brief statement of our heart’s desire such as clarity, healing, intimacy, understanding, insight, and/or resolution); and (4) the Dialogue (a deep listening to each other’s thoughts and feelings related to focal questions like those given above).

In “Marriage Encounter-like fashion,” a weekend process offered by many faith communities in the West, we would each speak for an uninterrupted period of time (say, 10 minutes) followed by 10 minutes of summary by whichever one of us was doing the listening.

No judgments. No commentary. No reaction. Just pure summary rooted in appreciative listening.

After that, the other speaks on the same question for 10 minutes again followed by summary. Once complete, the time together should move to another period of quiet meditation and then a final brief intention by each of us without discussion. Such a practice preserves the integrity of the union, strengthens it, celebrates the mystery of the synchronicities that brought us together in the first place, and affirms the central truth of Being: We are not separate.

My wish for all of you today as you read this post is that your special relationship is quickened in ways that unleash the latent grace and the full fructification of your sacred union.

Communio

Communio

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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