One Flesh

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Original photo by Jeff Belmonte

Daily Reformation, Genesis 2:18-25

From the Reformer

In April, 1523, nine nuns escaped from the convent of Nimptsch near Grimma, fled to Wittenberg, and appealed to Luther for protection and aid. Among them was Catharina von Bora, a virgin of noble birth, but poor, fifteen years younger than Luther, not remarkable for beauty or culture, but healthy, strong, frank, intelligent, and high-minded. In looking at the portraits of Dr. and Mrs. Luther in their honeymoon, we must remember that they were painted by Cranach, and not by Raphael or Titian.

Catharina had been attached and almost engaged to a former student of Wittenberg from Nürnberg; but he changed his mind, to her great grief, and married a rich wife (1523). After this Luther arranged a match between her and Dr. Glatz of Orlamünde (who was afterwards deposed); but she refused him, and intimated to Amsdorf, that she would not object to marry him or the Reformer. Amsdorf remained single. Luther at first was afraid of her pride, but changed his mind. On May 4, 1525, he wrote to Dr. Rühel (councilor of Count Albrecht of Mansfeld, and of Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz), that he would, take his Katie to wife before he died, in spite of the Devil.” He left his friends ignorant of the secret, deeming it unwise to talk much about such delicate matters. “A man,” he said, “must ask God for counsel, and pray, and then act accordingly.”

—Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church

Pulling It Together

It’ll never work. How many times have you heard that said at the announcement of an engagement? They’re not compatible. They don’t have anything in common. Never was there such a case for these statements as when the monk and the nun were to wed. No wonder it was done in some secrecy. How people would have decried the decision. Yet, in marriage we see the mystery and the power of God. He takes two different persons and makes them one. Even the ones that will “never work” do work when God’s counsel is in it. The rightly related marriage is a union with God—a sort of blessed trinity.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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