Sunday, July 12, 2009
TRAVELING IN COMPANY
Mark Twain, congratulating a friend on his engagement-
Dear Father Fitz-Simon,
Marriage- yes, it is the supreme felicity of life, I concede it, And it is also the supreme tragedy of life. The deeper the love, the surer the tragedy. And the more disconsolating when it comes.
And so I congratulate you. Not perfunctorily, lukewarmly, but with a fervency and a fire that no word in the dictionary is strong enough to convey. And in the same breath and with the same depth and sincerity I grieve for you. Not for both of you and not for the one that shall go first, but for the one who is fated to be left behind. For that one there is no recompense- for that one no recompense is possible.
There are times- thousands of times- when i can expose the half of my mind and conceal the other half but in the matter of tragedy of marriage I feel too deeply for that, and I have to bleed it all out or shut it all in. And so you must consider what I have been through, and am passing through and be charitable with me. Make the most of the sunshine. And I hope it will last long- ever so long.
I do really want to be present; yet for friendship's sake and because I honor you so, I would be there if I could.
Most sincerely your friend,
The Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Church in Corinth-
Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think it is good for you to remain as you are... But those who marry will face many troubles in this life and I want to spare you this. What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as though they had none...I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs- how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world- how he can please his wife- and his interests are divided.