I know Lydia even before she was born! She is the eldest daughter of the couple responsibles of my Neocatechumenal community in Malta. She is thirty. I have been in the Neocatechumenal Way 33 years! She was married a few years ago to Mark, the elder son of the couple responsible of the second community of the parish. I traveled all the way from Canada to Malta to be able to preside over their wedding.
It was a wonderful event. I deliberated a lot on what to say on that occasion because both of them are very dear to me. I wanted to avoid the standard cliché. I kept praying and thinking and then … it hit me.
I spoke to them of David. All of us are familiar with the story. He went with an errand, to the battle camp at Valley of Eloh and there he was shocked when he witnessed how the whole army of Israel was cowering before the Philistine champion.
Goliath was really huge and intimidating, wearing “a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing 125 pounds”. Every day he challenged the Israeli army. “Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.”
Understandably, “on hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified…”
Many times in life we are faced with giants. Marriage can be a terrifying giant. Problems can be scary. We look at ourselves and we feel so inadequate. The Israeli army asked themselves, “What can we do?” and they paralyzed themselves. David asked a different question, “What can God do in this situation?” and he went ahead.
Why such confidence? Because David retained a memory-bank of God’s faithfulness in his encounters with ‘giants’ in the past. God had delivered him from the paws of the lions. He has rescued him from being mauled by the bears. God did it once, twice; He can do it again, no?!
King Saul tried to dress him appropriately – a bronze helmet, a coat of mail and a huge sword. Yet when David tried to walk, he could not even move. Human assets many times are too burdensome and awkward.
He just took his staff, five smooth stones and a sling. AND he took something else. “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.” He took an assurance that comes from faith.
As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David reached into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The giant fell face down on the ground. Dead.
I remember that I continued my homily more or less like this. “Dear Lydia and Mark, you are well aware of the reality that surrounds you. You know how many couples started their marriage with enthusiasm and finished off broken and crushed. There are whole cemeteries of lifeless marriages around you.”
“What can ensure success to your marriage? What is the secret of a Christian marriage? It is what David sings in his Psalm 18 : ‘The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies… By my God I can scale ramparts.”
“This is my simple advice. This is the recommendation of the Church,” I continued. “Put HIM in the equation. In life you can either be giant-victims or giant-killers! You can face life in a frenzy of sweaty palms and palpitating heartbeats, or you can like David sing your way through, “God, in whom I trust, I do not have to be afraid. What can man do to me?”
“Yes, remember, that when you fight giants, you cannot use the weapons of the world. The world tells you…. ‘Trusting God might work fine in Church, but this is the real world and we need to be practical and do whatever is necessary … You need to sizzle your intimacy with some porn… Do not submit to him. If she does something wrong to you, fight back with a divorce! Have fun and do not be burdened with children the first years. The Church should not enter into the bedroom.’ The world is wrong and the consequences are all around you to see.”
“Use the weapons of God that are compassion and tenderness. Mark, love your wife as Jesus Christ loves the Church – He even gave his life for her! Lydia, love your husband as the Church loves Jesus Christ – she just cannot live without him.”
“The real giant in life is not Goliath, Goliath is just a dwarf. David’s stone prevailed against a monster wearing 200 pounds of armor! The real giant is God! Ask him to fill you with the quiet confidence that life is His battle and He is going to intervene at the right time with the right solutions.”
With God going before us, like David, we can become giant killers!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.