The ideal Husband?

It would be too expensive, the process of canonisation for an heroic married couple from a village in Indonesia or a township in South Africa, and the authorities would lack the evidence of letters and reminisces that exist for the parents of Thérèse. But  good people exist everywhere among the children of Abraham, shining like the numberless stars of heaven; two by two, so close to as to shine as one.

Talking of Abraham, before the Synod our Bishops seemed to be holding up him and Sarah as examples of what marriage is about. Hardly, my fathers, hardly. Their relationship looks incestuous (Genesis 20:12). I’m not at all sure about Abraham pretending Sarah was not his wife so that her looks might enchant Pharaoh (Gen 12) or Abimelech (20). Nor is keeping slaves (Gen 17.27) commendable, nor yet using a servant as a surrogate mother (Gen 16) and sending her away when Sarah bore Isaac (Gen 21).

As for attempting to kill his son (Gen 22) – I doubt even the most overworked social services would knowingly leave a child with such a father.

This Abraham we call our father in faith, a man of obvious flaws. So let’s not be too despondent that our relationships do not look like the pious Martins of Alençon. If God chose Abraham and Sarah – and the stories reiterate that he did – we can trust him to choose us, and let our little lights shine, even on this earth.

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