Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Amidst our various relationships and experiences along life’s continuum, most all of us work hard to take responsibility for the ways we choose friends, spouses, and other relationships. The Book of Genesis shows God choosing to form from the earth all the birds and animals, as well as the care God gave to the choice of man and woman—the two of them becoming one flesh.
Our world, its people, we ourselves also have more than enough examples of choices gone awry. We may have the hard experience of divorce close to home. We know what it’s like to pick up the pieces in relationships which have splintered because individuals made choices that proved selfish, thoughtless, unloving. How can any of this human messiness be different, especially if God’s grace is the glue? As we look at Jesus’ own life, we glean some insight about this all-important process of making choices. We need only recall the wide ambience of the relationships Jesus chose.
Though a celibate, Jesus had intimate friendships with a variety of women and men; though a Jew, he welcomed foreigners, sinners, tax collectors and outcasts to his table. Though single-minded in the pursuit of God’s will, he chose to associate with the wayward and weary, the lukewarm and the frightened, the zealous and the laggards. Jesus went aside often to pray. Recall how he preferred to pray in the company of his disciples.
Finally, recall that Jesus invited his closest friends not only to eat and drink and pray and work together. He also chose to send them out in service to others, challenging them to spend their energies for the Kingdom, giving generously what they (like we) had so graciously received as gifts of God. If we earnestly desire to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, can we do anything else but follow his example?
Love is something you go through with someone. [James Thurber]
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, you care deeply that we have people in our lives who truly love us. We are valued not for what we can do for them but treasured because of who we are. Mother Teresa tells us “Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” In Genesis, Lord, you created man and woman because “It is not good that the man should be alone.” We will meet people this day who suffer the “terrible poverty” Mother Teresa describes. Help us to slow down, give our attention, take an interest, and speak from our heart when we meet someone burdened by loss and loneliness.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team