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Two Papal Homilies for the Feast of the Holy Family

Posted Dec. 30, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family. Today is well-suited, then, for reflection on the meaning and the vocation of the family today. We share with you two homilies by former popes, both rich in images and ideas for contemplation.

First, a beautiful passage from a 1964 homily given by Pope Paul VI in Nazareth, as found in the Catechism, no. 533:

“The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus – the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us . . . A lesson on family life. May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simply beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character . . . A lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the ‘Carpenter’s Son,’ in you I would choose to understand and proclaim the severe and redeeming law of human work.”

The full text is available on the Vatican website, but only in Spanish or French.

Second, a homily by Bl. John Paul II from the first year of his pontificate, 1978. His words are a beautiful and timeless reflection on the meaning of the family and the threats it faces (in 1978 as well as today!).

“The deepest human problems are connected with the family. It constitutes the primary, fundamental and irreplaceable community for man. ‘The mission of being the primary vital cell of society has been given to the family by God himself,’ the Second Vatican Council affirms. (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 11) The Church wishes to bear a particular witness to that too during the Octave of Christmas, by means of the feast of the Holy Family. She wishes to recall that the fundamental values, which cannot be violated without incalculable harm of a moral nature, are bound up with the family.”

Read the entire homily here.

Have a wonderful feast day.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

All Sunday Pope Quotes

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Website tour, stop 4: Links page

Posted Dec. 28, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

The Marriage: Unique for a Reason website has now been live since mid-November, when it was announced by Bishop Cordileone at the bishops’ General Assembly. For the next few days, we’d like to take you on a “virtual tour” of the website so you are aware of the many resources available here.

Fourth Stop: Links

The Links page needs little explanation: it includes a series of links that we hope will be helpful to website visitors. These include many links to USCCB-run websites, such as For Your Marriage and the well-known Respect Life program.

An important feature of the Links page is that it provides links to a number of statements from State Catholic Conferences. These organizations function as the “policy arm” of the bishops in a state or region, and as such advocate for Christian principles in the public square. In recent years, many State Catholic Conferences have issued statements about marriage and marriage redefinition (for example, Illinois and Maryland). These statements are a witness to the commitment and effort of Catholics throughout the country to promote and protect marriage, and they are particularly valuable to Catholics in that state or region.

We invite you to explore the various links provided, especially those to State Catholic Conference statements.

Next Stop: Media Toolkit

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Website tour, stop 3: Marriage FAQs

Posted Dec. 26, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

The Marriage: Unique for a Reason website has now been live since mid-November, when it was announced by Bishop Cordileone at the bishops’ General Assembly. For the next few days, we’d like to take you on a “virtual tour” of the website so you are aware of the many resources available here.

Third Stop: FAQs

The FAQs about marriage are divided according to the four themes of the Marriage: Unique for a Reason website: sexual difference, children, the common good, and religious liberty. Within each section are found some of the most common questions raised about marriage:

…and so on.

The answers come from the wealth of the Church’s teaching on marriage, with an eye to faithfully explaining that teaching in the contemporary context. The FAQs are meant to be an accessible, useful resource for engaging in conversations about the meaning of marriage. We invite you to read and ponder them, and to share them with friends and family by using the buttons at the top of the page. You can also link to an FAQ individually, if you’d like to share that particular question and answer with someone who would find it helpful.

Next Stop: Links

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Merry Christmas!

Posted Dec. 25, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

Here are some passages for reflection this Christmas day, from the Catechism and from an early Church Father, St. Athanasius.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 460

“The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature“[2 Pet 1:4]: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” [St. Irenaeus] “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” [St. Athanasius] “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” [St. Thomas Aquinas]

St. Athanasius, selection from On the Incarnation of the Word (4th Century)

“But for the searching of the Scriptures and true knowledge of them, an honourable life is needed, and a pure soul, and that virtue which is according to Christ; so that the intellect guiding its path by it, may be able to attain what it desires, and to comprehend it, in so far as it is accessible to human nature to learn concerning the Word of God.  For without a pure mind and a modeling of the life after the saints, a man could not possibly comprehend the words of the saints. For just as, if a man wished to see the light of the sun, he would at any rate wipe and brighten his eye, purifying himself in some sort like what he desires, so that the eye, thus becoming light, may see the light of the sun; or as, if a man would see a city or country, he at any rate comes to the place to see it—thus he that would comprehend the mind of those who speak of God must needs begin by washing and cleansing his soul, by his manner of living, and approach the saints themselves by imitating their works; so that, associated with them in the conduct of a common life, he may understand also what has been revealed to them by God, and thenceforth, as closely knit to them, may escape the peril of the sinners and their fire at the day of judgment, and receive what is laid up for the saints in the kingdom of heaven, which “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man,” (1 Cor 2:9) whatsoever things are prepared for them that live a virtuous life, and love the God and Father, in Christ Jesus our Lord: through Whom and with Whom be to the Father Himself, with the Son Himself, in the Holy Spirit, honour and might and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Source: New Advent



 

 

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Website tour, stop 2: Church Teaching page

Posted Dec. 23, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

The Marriage: Unique for a Reason website has now been live since mid-November, when it was announced by Bishop Cordileone at the bishops’ General Assembly. For the next few days, we’d like to take you on a “virtual tour” of the website so you are aware of the many resources available here.

Second stop: Church Teachings

For an authentic education in the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage, there is no substitute for the primary, authoritative teaching documents of the Church. On the Church Teachings page, you’ll find links to these main documents: the Catechism, papal encyclicals, Second Vatican Council documents, and more. The Church does not leave her children empty-handed when it comes to the perennial questions about man, life, marriage, and meaning. The answers she gives may not be readily condensable into sound bites – but perhaps they are all the more valuable because of that!

We invite you to take the time to read and reflect on the Church’s teaching about marriage. Even if we have read something before, there is always something more that may surprise and enlighten us!

Next stop: FAQs

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Website tour, stop 1: Theme pages

Posted Dec. 20, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

The Marriage: Unique for a Reason website has now been live since mid-November, when it was announced by Bishop Cordileone at the bishops’ General Assembly. For the next few days, we’d like to take you on a “virtual tour” of the website so you are aware of the many resources available here.

First stop: the Four Themes

The website is visually divided in two parts by the large masthead picture (St. Joachim and St. Anne on the main page, for example). Beneath the picture is a series of tabs. The first four tabs each represent a theme identified by the bishops as essential for contemporary catechesis on marriage: Sexual Difference, Children, The Common Good, and Religious Liberty. The final tab features resources for Spanish speakers: La Familia.

Eventually, each theme (plus Spanish) will have its own short film and written materials that explain the topic in depth. To date, two themes have been completed: Sexual Difference (“Made for Each Other”) and Children (“Made for Life”). Each of these tabs have a wealth of information you can access to deepen your knowledge about why sexual difference matters for marriage, what marriage has to do with children, and why mothers and fathers matter.

In addition, each theme page has its own set of FAQs that address common questions raised about that topic. The Common Good FAQs examine marriage’s connection with society and why protecting the meaning of marriage is essential for a just society . The Religious Liberty FAQs reflect on the interconnection between marriage and religious liberty. And the FAQs found under La Familia include all of the FAQs, translated into Spanish.

We encourage you to explore the four themes and learn more about marriage!

Next stop: Church Teachings

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Sunday Pope Quote: Benedict XVI on marriage and the Eucharist

Posted Dec. 18, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

 

Pope Benedict XVI: The Eucharist, as the sacrament of charity, has a particular relationship with the love of man and woman united in marriage. A deeper understanding of this relationship is needed at the present time.

Pope John Paul II frequently spoke of the nuptial character of the Eucharist and its special relationship with the sacrament of Matrimony: “The Eucharist is the sacrament of our redemption. It is the sacrament of the Bridegroom and of the Bride.” Moreover, “the entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist.”

The Eucharist inexhaustibly strengthens the indissoluble unity and love of every Christian marriage. By the power of the sacrament, the marriage bond is intrinsically linked to the eucharistic unity of Christ the Bridegroom and his Bride, the Church (cf. Eph 5:31-32). The mutual consent that husband and wife exchange in Christ, which establishes them as a community of life and love, also has a eucharistic dimension. Indeed, in the theology of Saint Paul, conjugal love is a sacramental sign of Christ’s love for his Church, a love culminating in the Cross, the expression of his “marriage” with humanity and at the same time the origin and heart of the Eucharist.

For this reason the Church manifests her particular spiritual closeness to all those who have built their family on the sacrament of Matrimony. The family – the domestic Church – is a primary sphere of the Church’s life, especially because of its decisive role in the Christian education of children. In this context, the Synod also called for an acknowledgment of the unique mission of women in the family and in society, a mission that needs to be defended, protected and promoted. Marriage and motherhood represent essential realities which must never be denigrated.

Sacramentum Caritatis (2007), no. 27

About this series:

Every Sunday, the Marriage: Unique for a Reason blog will feature a short quote from either our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, or our late Holy Father, Bl. John Paul II. These two men have given the world an immense treasury of wisdom about marriage, love, and the meaning of the human person, all of which are topics integral to the Church’s witness today. Their words are well worth reflecting on, as we have much to learn from these wise successors of St. Peter.

All Sunday Pope Quotes

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One-year Anniversary: Ecumenical/Interreligious Commitment to Marriage

Posted Dec. 15, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

“How good it is, how pleasant, where the people dwell as one!” – Psalm 133:1 (NAB)

Just over one year ago, on December 6, 2010, leaders from twenty-seven different religious communities joined together to reaffirm their commitment to marriage as the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman. In an open letter entitled  “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment”  religious leaders representing a wide-range of Christian churches and communities, Jewish organizations and the American Sikh community joined the Catholic Church in expressing their common concern and commitment to marriage between one man and one woman as an unalterable institution in the bedrock of our society.

“As religious leaders across different faith communities,” the signatories wrote, “we join together and affirm our shared commitment to promote and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We honor the unique love between husbands and wives; the indispensable place of fathers and mothers; and the corresponding rights and dignity of all children.”

The open letter was a remarkable expression of ecumenical and interreligious collaboration, and a hopeful sign of joint activity yet to come. Despite the groups’ theological and cultural differences, they affirmed together their common belief that protecting and promoting marriage is a fundamental task for all people of faith. Indeed, “how good it is, how pleasant, where the people dwell as one!”

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Sexual difference: Why does it matter?

Posted Dec. 6, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 7 comments

So far in our series on sexual difference, we have looked at various ways that our culture describes sexual difference (part one and part two), examined Scripture and the Catechism on the subject, and added two helpful phrases to our repertoire of describing sexual difference (“asymmetrical reciprocity” and “double unity”). One important point remains to be discussed: Why does sexual difference matter?

Difference: the foundation of love

Before considering sexual difference specifically, let’s take one step back: why does difference matter? (more…)

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Sunday Pope Quote: JPII on the divine "We" and sexual difference

Posted Dec. 4, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

 

Bl. Pope John Paul II: “In the light of the New Testament it is possible to discern how the primordial model of the family is to be sought in God himself, in the Trinitarian mystery of his life. The divine ‘We’ is the eternal pattern of the human ‘we,’ especially of that ‘we’ formed by the man and the woman created in the divine image and likeness. The words of the Book of Genesis contain that truth about man which is confirmed by the very experience of humanity. (more…)