Where two are gathered

Martin Delaney and Emerald O’Hanrahan in PAYG's recording studio
Martin Delaney and Emerald O’Hanrahan in PAYG's recording studio

Today Jesuit Media Initiatives, in collaboration with the Diocese of Westminster Marriage and Family Life team, launch Where Two Are Gathered, a new series of 7 audio sessions designed for married couples to celebrate Marriage Week, which is running from the 13th to the 19th May. The project partly follows the success of the Advent reflections for married couples Imagining the Nativity.

The sessions are designed to be more interactive than normal Pray As You Go resources: they allow couples space to discuss the questions and reflections together through an invitation to press pause at various points. Written by Stephen Hoyland, each one of them lasts between four to six minutes. They are voiced by newlywed actors Martin Delaney (known for his work in ‘Now You see Me 2’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, and ‘Beowulf & Grendel’) and Emerald O’Hanrahan (‘The Archers’, ‘Silk’, ‘Father Brown’), both Catholic and who have already collaborated together with PAYG for the Significance Examen.

The theme of Marriage Week 2019 is about the best ‘ingredients’ for a healthy relationship. It comes easy a comparison with cooking. One fun way of exploring this initiative, indeed, could be for the couple to spend some time together preparing a meal together. This implies teamwork and possibly not a little laughter if the culinary skill-sets of the two are not quite equal to the task.

Meals require thought, adequate preparation and sometimes a little compromise to make sure that the ingredients and flavours meet the needs of differing palates. “The same applies to growing a healthy, life-long and sustaining marriage. The most memorable meals include a variety of courses and different flavours,” reflects Roger Carr-Jones, the head of Marriage and Family for the Diocese of Westminster.

“Marriage brings together a ‘mix’ of different ingredients and it takes time to blend them together to produce a new way of existence. Sometimes everything is in balance and the flavours combine perfectly. At other times we need to revisit the mix, working together to ensure that the right balance is achieved and maintained, and that the flavours have not been dulled over time!”

In daily life ready-made meals are available to be purchased: although not being always what the person needs, these provides just enough to meet the demands of work and family life. It is good to know that ready-made marriages are not available off the shelf, or if they were, it will soon be found that the product is not to our tastes or needs. What is needed, instead, is to find the right mix and proportions for every couple to enjoy a healthy, balanced and nourishing married life. The mix and proportions will change as the nature of the relationship grows and matures over the years. Sometimes adding a new flavour or ingredient transforms the zest and taste of the meal.

The Pray As You Go new series of prayer exercises uses as its base ingredients Scripture, the Ignatian tradition and other Christian insights to provide a simple recipe, which can then be enjoyed blending together to make a tasty, exciting and balanced meal to feed the listeners’ marriage.

It would be advisable perhaps for the couple to approach this time of prayer by asking first for the grace to look back on the ingredients which has made and currently make their marriage, to heal those times where the taste has been soured or the mix burnt, and to be given new insights as to the elements needed for the next course.

The sessions will be released one per day throughout this week, starting on Monday 13th May.

Listen to the sessions