Why do I pray?

Because I’m going to marry Christ

I was going from one room to another in my house when the question “Why do I pray?” came to my mind without any connection to what I was doing or what I was thinking.

Amazingly, the answer appeared as automatically and spontaneously as the question: “Because I am going to marry Christ.”

It would never have occurred to me to give that answer. I had never thought of my relationship with Christ, neither in this world, nor in heaven, as a marital union, but those thoughts, as unexpected as they were spontaneous, led me to a whole reflection.

The first thing I thought, now reflectively, was that at the end of the day that is probably the union we will have with the Lord in eternal life; and it led me to consider what my prayer is like and why that idea could come to me.

I realized that prayer is indeed a communication with those who love me and whom I want to love, and that I spend a lot of time trying to get to know them, either through reading the Bible, especially the Gospel, or in contemplative prayer.

Isn’t that what lovers do: contemplate themselves, seeking to know and encompass everything about the loved one?

I searched the Bible for the verses that refer to the relationship with the Lord as a spousal relationship, finding beautiful words, full of strength:

“And I heard like the sound of a vast crowd, like the sound of many waters, and like the roar of loud thunder, saying, «Hallelujah. Because the Lord our God reigns, the owner of all, let us be glad and rejoice and give thanks to him. The wedding of the Lamb has come, his wife has become beautiful, and it has been granted to her to be clothed in bright and pure linen—the linen is the good works of the saints». And he said to me, «Write: “Blessed are those invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.”» And he added: «“These are true words of God»”, Revelation, 19, 7-9.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God from heaven, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is among men, and he will dwell among them, and they will be his people, and the ‘God with them’ will be his God.” And she will wipe away every tear from his eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying, nor pain, because the former has disappeared. And he who sits on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” And he said, “Write: these words are faithful and true.” Revelation 21, 1-5.

“As a young man marries a maiden, so your builders marry you. “As a husband rejoices with his wife, so your God rejoices with you.” Isaiah, 62.5.

“I am jealous of you, the jealousy of God, because I have betrothed you to one husband, to present you to Christ as a chaste virgin” 2 Corinthians, 2.

All these readings made me understand that the one who marries the Lord is the Church. But what is the Church, if not all the baptized, from the Pope to the smallest of babies who have just received the Holy Spirit? The baptized are members of the Church, each of us must marry the Lord to form the wedding.

I realized that, in reality, almost the entire Bible can be read in terms of conjugal love. The Father gives his Son as husband to men, and if that were not enough, he also gives us his love, the Holy Spirit, so that we can correspond to him. Is awesome.

I continued to reflect on my prayer and realized how self-centered it often is. I realized that I am like the boyfriend who, as soon as he has a moment with his beloved, dedicates himself to talking to her only about what he has done in his day, what has gone wrong, the plans he has and the worries that invade him, but he barely listens to his beloved nor does he seek to reciprocate her, just to be heard.

For months already, on one occasion, when had just returned after being unfaithful to the Lord (when I returned from confessing, I mean), I was thinking about how it was possible that the Lord would always forgive me. I understood that Christ is like an abused wife, that despite my infidelities and my mistreatment, he does not stop loving me and is always waiting for my repentance, he never denies me forgiveness, he always welcomes me back into his arms. Furthermore, I understood that like the wife of the drunk who time and again comes home in a deplorable state, she does not suffer so much from the contempt and mistreatment to which I subject her, but from the deplorable state to which she abandons me. And her happiness when I return is not because of Him, as if he needed my love, but because of seeing myself restored and able to welcome his love.

I understood then that Jesus was really in love with me, and logically with everyone; that the best way to understand what He feels for any of us is this: “He is madly in love”, like a teenager, only He does not idealize anyone, quite the contrary, He knows us fully and hence the perfection of His love, His love is total, without limits in the face of our weaknesses.

I kept thinking about my prayer and realized that, like any boyfriend, I also spend a lot of time talking to his Mother, my Mother. Knowing the beloved’s mother is necessary to be able to get to know her in her deepest intimacy. And I also spend time talking (and listening) to those who have been his friends, the apostles, without a doubt, and his disciples, but also the friends he has had throughout the centuries, the saints. They talk to me about how they have related to Jesus and consequently about what He is like, and they, who have already reached the goal, the wedding with the loved one, help me, guide me on the path to Him.

But it is He who speaks to me the most. I pray to hear you. Every minute in front of Him in the tabernacle, or better yet, face to face, when He is exposed in the monstrance. Each Eucharist is the wedding dinner, as if it were the “rehearsal” for the definitive banquet. At every Mass, my beloved gives himself to me. How I would like to receive Him as He wants me to!!

Why do I pray? Because I am going to marry Christ. Amen.