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National Marriage Week: Sexual Difference: What do Scripture and the Catechism say?

Posted Feb. 11, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

Today’s post is the third in a series about sexual difference, in honor of National Marriage Week.

Previous posts:

In this post, we will examine Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on the subject of sexual difference.

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Jesus takes us back to the “beginning”

Both sections of the Catechism that discuss sexual difference (CCC, nos. 369-373 and nos. 2331-2336) are called “Male and Female He Created Them.” Indeed, they both guide us back to the creation accounts in Genesis (Gen 1:1-2:4 and 2:5-25). It is here, in Sacred Scripture, that we see the sexual difference of man to woman and woman to man for what it really is, an essential good arising from creation itself. The Church’s teaching on sexual difference takes its cue from Jesus, who, when questioned by the Pharisees about marriage and divorce, referred his listeners back to the “beginning”: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’…” (Matt 19:4). [1]

The book of Genesis gives us not one, but two accounts of the creation story. The first (Gen 1:1-2:4) has a distinct rhythm (“Then God said…And so it happened…And it was good”), a clear progression of events, and the crucial anthropological verse: “God created man in his image…” (1:27). The second account (Gen 2:5-25) has a very different feel. Here, we get a glimpse of the interior life of the first humans, and we are allowed a window into the first encounter between Adam and Eve. Taken together, the two accounts illuminate different aspects of the human condition. According to John Paul II, “When we compare the two accounts, we reach the conviction that this subjectivity [in the second account] corresponds to the objective reality of man created ‘in the image of God’” (TOB, sec. 3:1).

What does the “beginning” reveal to us about sexual difference?

  • Sexual difference is willed by God as something good: “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them…God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good” (Gen 1:27, 31). Contrary to the myths of Aristophanes and Pandora (see this earlier post), sexual difference is not a wound or a lack, but is a blessing given to men and women by their Creator. The difficulties that sadly befall the relationship between the sexes are not part of God’s original plan, but are some of many tragic consequences of the Fall (see Gen 3:1-19).
  • Men and women share an equal dignity and equal intimacy with God: “Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God” (CCC, no. 2334; quoting MD, no.6). This point is said beautifully in the story of the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib (Gen 2:18-25). The original Hebrew uniquely captures the significance, as Fr. José Granados and Carl Anderson explain:

“Most of us probably interpret the account of Eve’s creation of how a male human being named ‘Adam’ got himself a wife. The picture changes somewhat when we learn that the name ‘Adam’ is actually a play on the Hebrew word for earth: hā’adāmāh. For, as John Paul II points out, it’s only after the woman is created that the Bible first uses the Hebrew word for man in the sense of ‘male’: ˈiš. When Eve appears on the scene, a new vocabulary suddenly emerges along with her: The text shifts from hā’adāmāh, which emphasizes man’s connection with the earth, to ‘is, which it then immediately pairs with the word for ‘woman’: ˈiššāh.” [ii] 

They conclude, “Far from degrading women to an inferior status, then, the story of Adam’s rib actually underscores that Adam and Eve, male and female, are identical in their dignity and their common humanity” [iii]. Both Adam and Eve come directly from the hand of the Creator. As the Catechism puts it, “Man discovers woman as another ‘I,’ sharing the same humanity” (CCC, no. 371).

  • Sexual difference reveals that men and women are created for communion with each other. When God created Eve and brought her to Adam, he cried out joyfully, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23). The author of Genesis connects Adam’s exuberant cry to the institution of marriage: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body” (Gen 2:24). Centuries later, Jesus quotes this verse in response to the Pharisees’ question about divorce, and he adds, “So they [husband and wife] are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mt 19:6).

Sexual difference, present as a blessing from the very beginning of creation, is therefore the necessary foundation of marriage. Indeed, as the Second Vatican Council stated, the companionship between man and woman is nothing less than “the primary form of interpersonal communion” (GS, no. 12). As the Catechism says,

Man and woman were made ‘for each other’ – not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be ‘helpmate’ to the other, for they are equal as persons (‘bone of my bones…’) and complementary as masculine and feminine” (CCC, no. 372).

Sexual difference, inscribed in each person’s body, reveals to us a fundamental truth about human nature: we are not meant to be solitary creatures. Instead, we are created for communion with others, a communion uniquely witnessed by the free, total, and fruitful gift of self exchanged between husband and wife for a lifetime.

Next: Two Phrases about Sexual Difference to Put in Your Back Pocket


[1] See Bl. John Paul II’s reflections on these words of Jesus, as well as on the creation accounts in Genesis, in the first section of his audiences on the theology of the body: TOB, nos. 1-23.

[ii] Carl Anderson and Fr. Jose Granados, Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (New York: Doubleday, 2009): p. 45.

[iii] Ibid.


 

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Strengthening and Defending Marriage is a Matter of Justice: from "Catholics Care. Catholics Vote." series

Posted Apr. 20, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Over at the USCCB Media Relations blog, there’s a series underway called “Catholics Care. Catholics Vote.” The posts in this series discuss various aspects of the 2007 USCCB document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, which was reissued in 2011 with a new introductory note. Today’s post treats the topic of marriage, which is identified by the bishops as a key public policy concern.

Catholics Care. Catholics Vote: Strengthening and Defending Marriage is a Matter of Justice

Marriage is clearly a big deal for Catholics.

Even many non-Catholics know that, for instance, the Catholic Church doesn’t recognize divorce and that being married in the Church is important to Catholics. Delving into Catholic teaching itself, Scripture is filled with references to marriage, and the Church presents it as a vocation and as one of the Sacraments, a visible sign of God’s gift of grace.

What might be more surprising is that, for Catholics, marriage is also a key public policy issue, in fact one of six raised by the U.S. bishops when they reissued Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, their call to political responsibility. This means marriage is not only something that matters to the doctrine of the Church and the private lives of the people entering into it. It matters to all society.

Keep reading at the USCCB media relations blog.

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National Marriage Week: Returning to the Sources

Posted Feb. 13, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

“I want to explain the Church’s teaching on marriage when it comes up in conversation…but I just don’t know how!”

Has this thought ever crossed your mind? If so, you’re not alone! Articulating what the Catholic Church believes and teaches about marriage can be difficult, especially in a cultural climate where many of its main tenets are rejected.

One strategy is to return to the sources. That is, become knowledgeable about the Church’s authoritative teaching on marriage, as found in major papal and episcopal documents and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Frequent consultation of these main sources helps us to become ever more fluent in the “language” of the Church when she speaks about marriage. And when difficult questions come up in conversation or surface in the media, it’s helpful to know where to turn for solid answers.

But where to begin? Below, we offer an introduction to a few of the many important documents about marriage. We encourage you to become acquainted (or perhaps re-acquainted) with the Church’s beautiful and timeless teaching on marriage.

*Note: the following is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Additional sources will be highlighted in future posts.

1. USCCB, Pastoral Letter Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan (2009)

  • Why it matters: It’s the most recent document on marriage from the entire body of U.S. bishops, approved in 2009.
  • Structure:
    • Mini-book, 58 pages long
    • Part One: Marriage in the Order of Creation (The Natural Institution of Marriage)
    • Part Two: Marriage in the Order of the New Creation (The Sacrament of Matrimony)
  • Highlights:
    • Identifies four “fundamental challenges” to marriage: contraception, same-sex unions, divorce, and cohabitation (pp. 17-27).
    • Reflects on marriage as a vocation and offers advice to married couples seeking to grow in virtue (pp. 43-45).
  • Quotable:
    • “For all who seek to find meaning in their marriage will do so when they are open to accepting the transcendent meaning of marriage according to God’s plan” (p. 4).
    • “Male and female are distinct bodily ways of being human, of being open to God and to one another – two distinct yet harmonizing ways of responding to the vocation to love” (p. 10).
    • “The marital vocation is not a private or merely personal affair. Yes, marriage is a deeply personal union and relationship, but it is also for the good of the Church and the entire community” (p. 44).
  • Additional Resources:

2. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. (1997)

  • Why it matters: The Catechism conveys the essential content of the Catholic faith (including its teaching on marriage) in a complete and summary way. Divided into easy-to-digest paragraphs, the Catechism also provides numerous footnotes for further study.
  • Structure and key sections:
    • 904 pages, divided into four parts and 2,865 paragraphs
    • The sacrament of matrimony: nos. 1601-1606
      • See especially “The goods and requirements of conjugal love” – nos. 1643-1654
    • Sexual difference: nos. 369-373 and 2331-2336
    • The love of husband and wife: nos. 2360-2379
    • Offenses against the dignity of marriage: nos. 2380-2391
  • Quotable:
    • “God created man and woman together and willed each for the other” (no. 371).
    • “The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator” (no. 1603).
    • “Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity” (no. 2333).
    • “Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful” (no. 2366).
  • Additional Resources:

3. Bl. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981)

  • English title: On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World
  • Why it matters: Promulgated in response to the 1980 Synod of Bishops, Familiaris Consortio reads like a “little summa” of the theology of marriage and the family. Its pastoral advice, which touches on a diverse range of topics from women and society to responsible parenthood to mixed marriages to divorce, is grounded on a robust anthropology of the human person and theology of marriage and the family. It calls the family to a simple but profound mission: “Family, become what you are!”
  • Structure:
    • 86 sections
    • Part One: Bright Spots and Shadows for the Family Today
    • Part Two: The Plan of God for Marriage and the Family
    • Part Three: The Role of the Christian Family
      • 1) Forming a Community of Persons
      • 2) Serving Life
      • 3) Participating in the Development of Society
      • 4) Sharing in the Life and Mission of the Church
    • Part Four: Pastoral Care of the Family: Stages, Structures, Agents and Situations
  • Quotable:
    • “Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (no. 11).
    • “Every act of true love toward a human being bears witness to and perfects the spiritual fecundity of the family, since it is an act of obedience to the deep inner dynamism of love as self-giving to others” (no. 41).
    • “The future of the world and of the church passes through the family” (no. 75).
  • Additional Resources

4. Bl. John Paul II, Letter to Families (1994)

  • Why it matters: Promulgated during the Year of the Family, John Paul II addressed this letter “not to families ‘in the abstract’ but to every particular family in every part of the world” (no. 4). A perfect complement to the longer Familiaris Consortio, Letter to Families invites families to reflect on their identity (especially its likeness to the Triune God) and their mission (building a civilization of love).
  • Structure:
    • 23 sections
    • Part One: The Civilization of Love
      • Includes: marital covenant and communion, sincere gift of self, and responsible parenthood
    • Part Two: The Bridegroom is with You
      • Includes: reflections on the wedding at Cana, the sacrament of marriage, and Mary
  • Quotable:
    • “When a man and woman in marriage mutually give and receive each other in the unity of ‘one flesh,’ the logic of the sincere gift of self becomes a part of their life” (no. 11).
    • “Freedom cannot be understood as a license to do absolutely anything: it means a gift of self. Even more: it means an interior discipline of the gift” (no. 14).
    • “Families are meant to contribute to the transformation of the earth and the renewal of the world, of creation and of all humanity” (no. 18).

 

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National Marriage Week: What does sexual difference have to do with marriage?

Posted Feb. 10, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Today is the fourth day of National Marriage Week. On Tuesday, we reflected on what makes marriage unique, different from any other relationship on earth. Today the topic is more focused: why does sexual difference matter for marriage? In other words, why is marriage the union of one man and one woman?

What is sexual difference?

1)      The call to accept one’s sexual identity as a man or as a woman

As we did before, let’s begin with the human person, with an authentic anthropology. Crucial here is the fact that to exist as a human person means to be embodied. (When was the last time you met someone without a body?) Echoing Bl. John Paul II’s terminology, we can say that the body “reveals” man and is “an expression of the person” (TOB, 9.4 and 27.3). In other words, encountering a living human body means at the same time encountering a human person. The body is not just a shell or a conduit for one’s “real” self but is intimately and inseparably united with one’s identity, one’s “I”.

Further, to exist as a human person means to exist as a man or as a woman. The human body is fundamentally a gendered reality, not a gender-less (androgynous) one.[1] And because the body is a deeply personal reality and not just a biological fact, being a man or being a woman is not just a matter of anatomical features or “the shape of my skin.” Instead, one’s sexual identity – as a man or as a woman – affects a person at every level of his or her existence (biologically, psychologically, genetically, and so forth). As the Catechism puts it, “Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul… Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity” (CCC, nos. 2332 and 2333, emphasis in original).

2)      An irreducible and dynamic difference

What does sexual identity have to do with sexual difference? Simply this: when we speak of sexual difference, we mean both the existence of two distinct sexual identities (man or woman) and the built-in mutual relationship between them. In other words, sexual difference has to do with the irreducible and dynamic difference of man to woman and woman to man.

Why “irreducible”? Because sexual difference is primordial, basic, and unique. It is fundamental to human experience and reality. Unlike other differences between people, sexual difference undergirds everything that we are as human persons, male or female. Sexual difference cuts across geographic, ethnic, and other differences, being in fact more basic than these other differences.

Why “dynamic”? Because sexual difference distinguishes in order to unite. In fact, sexual difference is precisely what enables communion between man and woman to exist at all. (More on this soon.)

Put another way, sexual difference is a mutually referential kind of difference – we know woman fully only by knowing man, and know man fully only by knowing woman. The differences between them do not just set them apart but hint at something more, at a call to communion between them. This call to communion inscribed in man and woman is part of what Bl. John Paul II had in mind when he wrote the following:

“The person, by the light of reason and the support of virtue, discovers in the body the anticipatory signs, the expression and the promise of the gift of self, in conformity with the wise plan of the Creator” (VS, no. 48).

Sexual difference, then, far from being merely a biological or anatomical fact, communicates a wealth of truth about the human person! If we have the eyes to see, as Bl. John Paul II urges us to, we’ll see in the human person’s identity as man and woman the “anticipatory signs” of the “gift of self,” or, using the language of the Catechism, we’ll see the call to love, which is the “fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (CCC, no. 1604).

Sexual difference and marriage

We are now well-poised to understand what sexual difference has to do with marriage. As a recap of Tuesday’s post, marriage is a unique relationship that has a number of essential characteristics (without which marriage wouldn’t be marriage):

  • Marriage is total (gift of self)
  • Marriage is faithful and exclusive (a truthful gift)
  • Marriage is forever (the gift of one’s future)
  • Marriage is life-giving (the gift of one’s fertility)

Sexual difference matters here: it is the ground (the foundation) of the capacity of husband and wife to exchange a mutual, total gift of their entire selves, a gift precisely at the center of what marriage is. Without sexual difference, this gift would not be possible. Put more specifically: the love between husband and wife involves a free, total, and faithful gift of self that not only expresses love but also opens the spouses to receive the gift of a child. No other human interaction on earth is like this!

Sexual difference, then, is not an optional “add-on” to an already existing entity called “marriage” (much like you might choose to add sprinkles to your ice cream – or not). Instead, sexual difference is at the very heart of what marriage is. It’s what capacitates man and woman to give themselves completely to each other as husband and wife. Sexual difference matters for marriage.

Interested in learning more? Check out the DVD “Made for Each Other,” its Viewer’s Guide and Resource Booklet, and all of the Sexual Difference FAQs. Also see the previous blog series on sexual difference.


[1] Even in circumstances when a person expresses ambiguous genitalia or departs from the XX/XY genetic standard, the anomaly is recognized precisely due to its discordance with healthy, normal presentation as male or female.

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National Marriage Week: Celebrating the Unique Beauty and Promise of Marriage

Posted Feb. 7, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

February 7 through 14 is National Marriage Week, a collaborative effort to strengthen marriages and emphasize the benefits of marriage to husbands, wives, children, and society. It’s an appropriate time to think again about what makes marriage unique. What sets it apart from any other relationship on earth? In an age when many of us have experienced the wounds that come from broken marriages and families, and when unfortunate confusion about the meaning of marriage abounds, we are called to witness to a truth and a hope much deeper and much more real than we often see on TV or hear on the news. One way to assist us in this witness is to return to the basics and reflect once more on the unique, irreplaceable beauty of marriage.

Men and Women Matter: Let’s Start with the Human Person

Anthropology – the study of the human person – is an indispensable starting point for thinking about marriage. After all, marriage has to do with persons; it is a personal relationship. We must ask, “What does it mean to be a human person, as a man or as a woman?” Fundamentally, three points are important:

  • Imago Dei: Human persons, male and female, are created in the image and likeness of God; every human person has inviolable dignity and worth.
  • Vocation to love: Because “God is love” (see 1 John 4:8), human persons, as male and female created in God’s image, are given the vocation, and the responsibility, to love (see CCC, no. 1604 and FC, no. 11).
  • Male and female: The body (masculine or feminine) is not an afterthought but is essential to the identity of the human person created in the image of God.

Where does marriage fit into this? Well, the Catechism tells us that “the vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator” (CCC, no. 1603). In other words, marriage comes into existence at the same moment that man and woman are created. Marriage is a particularly significant way that men and women can live out their vocation to love (see FC, no. 11).

Gift and Promise: Essential characteristics of marriage

Keeping in mind the nature of the human person – created male and female and called to the vocation of love – let’s now talk about the essential characteristics of marriage. As with any work of defining terms, it’s important to identify those things that make marriage unique, different from any other type of relationship. Yes, there are characteristics marriage shares in common with other relationships between people (for example, affection, longevity, shared interests, and so on). But marriage is a unique bond. If we were to explain to a visitor from Mars what makes marriage different from other relationships, what would we say?

The following list identifies those properties without which marriage wouldn’t be marriage – just like without peanuts, peanut butter wouldn’t be the same thing. We’re talking about essential characteristics – those things that are part of marriage’s very essence.

Marriage is total (gift of self)

Pope Paul VI describes beautifully what is meant by the totality of marriage in Humanae Vitae:

“It is a love which is total – that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner’s own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself” (HV, no. 9).

The totality of marriage, then, refers to the immensity of the gift husband and wife give to each other – a gift not just of time, or money, or possessions, but a gift of their very selves. This gift is total because husband and wife hold absolutely nothing back from each other. As we’ll see, the “totality of the gift” helps illuminate the other characteristics of marriage.

Marriage is faithful and exclusive (a truthful gift)

Precisely because the gift of one’s self exchanged in marriage is total, it can only be given to one person at a time! (Picture the parody of a man saying to woman after woman, “I’m all yours!” “And yours!” “And yours!”) The totality of the gift demands exclusivity.

As the Catechism puts it,

“By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequences of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement ‘until further notice’” (CCC, no. 1647).

Marriage is forever (the gift of one’s future)

Contained within the gift of self that one gives in marriage is the gift of one’s future—the promise. Again, how could the gift be total if a time limit were placed on it? As Bl. Pope John Paul II said, a total self-gift must include “the temporal dimension”:

“If the person were to withhold something or reserve the possibility of deciding otherwise in the future, by this very fact he or she would not be giving totally” (FC, no. 11).

But how can anyone promise their future to another person…today? Here we see the awesome beauty of a vow: in one moment, on one day, husband and wife promise each other every moment, every day that is to come. The vow they exchange on their wedding day “takes up” every future moment, freeing husband and wife to know that they are entirely given to each other – forever.

Marriage is life-giving (the gift of one’s fertility)

We read in the Second Vatican Council document Gaudium et Spes, “Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children” (GS, no. 50). One way to understand this is to think that in giving themselves completely and unreservedly to each other in marriage, husband and wife give each other the gift of their fertility. In fact, the capacity to procreate new life is inscribed in the very nature of man and woman and in their coming together as “one flesh.”

As Bl. John Paul II explains, “the conjugal act ‘means’ not only love, but also potential fruitfulness” (TOB, no. 123.6). To be clear, this doesn’t mean that a child will – or should – be conceived in every marital act. What it does mean is that the love expressed by husband and wife is of its very nature both unitive and procreative: “one as well as the other [meaning] belong to the innermost truth of the conjugal act” (TOB, no. 123.6). To pledge everything to one’s spouse includes pledging the possibility of becoming a mother or a father together.

Next: What are the bishops doing to promote and protect marriage?

 

 

 

 

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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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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 2 comments

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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Sexual difference: Going back to the "beginning"

Posted Nov. 29, 2011 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Today’s post is the third in a series about sexual difference.

Previous posts:

  • Sexual Difference: Shedding light on popular claims (part one)
  • Sexual Difference: Shedding light on popular claims (part two)

In this post, we will examine Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on the subject of sexual difference. (more…)