Saturday, September 4, 2010

Junior-High Lecture Notes on the Sanctity of Marriage & Family

Family begins with marriage. Marriage is a bond that God creates between 1 man and 1 woman with the intention that it will last their entire lives. This description, while not complete, is based on the words of Christ Himself in the tenth chapter of Mark's gospel.

In both the Old and New Testaments, the love of God for his people (Israel) and the love of Jesus for his Church (the New Israel) are compared to the love between husband and wife. Marriage is a sacrament when it is performed by a priest or deacon of the Church for two baptized Christians. All Catholics should enter into this sacrament if they wish to enjoy the same joys that a husband and wife do. 

A sacrament is a way that God shares his grace and his Holy Spirit with us through physical acts and signs. Jesus did not invent marriage, but he blessed it by performing his first miracle in support of a marriage in the town of Cana (see John's Gospel, second chapter). God further blessed marriage by having his Son born into a couple, even though Joseph did not sire the child Jesus.

The first two chapters of Genesis make clear that God created marriage for human beings. He had two purposes in mind:

First, he wished to cure Adam's deep loneliness by providing him with anther human being who would be equal yet different. For Adam to find intimate lifelong companionship in one like himself would be egotistical and would fail to fill what was incomplete within the limits of his physical nature.

Second, God commanded them to be fertile and multiply and fill the Earth. Before we dismiss this as an old-fashioned myth from the Old Testament, we must remember that this is the same scripture Jesus quoted in Mark Ch. 10. He followed this by saying "let the little children come unto me."

Marriage's two purposes are called "unitive" and "reproductive".

  • The first function brings the two together as one spiritually so that they can help each other grow towards Heaven. 
  • The second function is to bring new souls into the Universe and raise them towards Heaven. If one function is prevented, the beauty of the other function is reduced.
So according to both Genesis and Jesus, marriage is a gift from God intended to lead to the group we call "family."  Family is a child's first church. It is here that children learn love, sharing, taking turns, obedience, self-denial, teamwork, respect for authority, and the basics of right and wrong.

Both St. Paul and St. Peter tell us in their epistles that the wife is to obey and submit to her husband as the Church obeys Jesus himself. Likewise, the husband is to protect, provide for, and show loving kindness towards his wife. St. Peter warns in his epistle that God will not answer the prayers of the man who is cruel to his wife, and Paul says that the man must treat his wife with same concern he shows for his own body.

Because marriage and family are the cornerstone of a person's spiritual development, three of the Ten Commandments deal with them:

Honor thy Father and Mother.

Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery.

Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife.

Jesus echoes these commandments in the fifth chapter of Matthew's Gospel. And Luke's Gospel makes a point of telling us in the second chapter that even Jesus had to obey his mother and step-father when he was a boy.

In our present culture, there is great debate about the nature of marriage. Many people in our government and our entertainment industry claim that marriage is merely a romantic arrangement that can be entered into by any two adults, even if it is not a man and a woman. They reject what Jesus said in Mark 10 and what God said in the opening chapters of Genesis. They also reject the evidence of Reason and nature, both of which reflect the will of their Creator.

Our Catholic Church echoes the teachings of the Apostle Paul (see Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:10, and 1 Timothy 1:10). Paul condemns such terrible misuse of the human body and physical love. According to the teachings of Jesus, the apostles, and the Church, we must limit physical love is to man and woman in lifelong marriage for the purpose of creating a family. Those who do not wish to enter into this type of relationship are called to lifelong chastity- a life that does not involve intimate physical love (see Matthew 19:12).

Our Church teaches what the Bible teaches- that children are a gift from God to married couples (see Psalm 127: 3-5). In Biblical times, couples considered it a curse if they were not able to have many children (Deuteronomy 28:18, Job 15:34).

Marriage and the family are sacred because they reflect on Earth the love and life of the Holy Trinity in Heaven. God created humans and placed us on Earth as part of His plan for spiritualizing materiality,

bringing an eventual "marital" union between Earth and Heaven.

Marriage mirrors the relationship between the Father and the Son in that two beings, equal and consubstantial yet different, are inseparably united in love. From them proceeds a 3rd person- a person who proceeds from them both equally and belongs to them both equally, a person who contains qualities of both while still possessing uniqueness.

The Earthly benefits of having children are that one's offspring can provide their parents with care, protection, and support in their old age. Thus the sacrifices made by parents are repaid by children in the Christian family. The family is a "miniature church and government" where people care for each other throughout the life cycle as they move from the womb to the world to the tomb and from there, to Heaven.

SOURCE: Mr. Hebert 

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin