Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Original Meaning of Marriage

    In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning the of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning:  permission given by Moses to divorce one's wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts.  The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble:  God himself has determined
it:  "what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

    This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize.  However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy -- heavier than the Law of Moses.
By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God.  It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to "receive" the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ.  This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life.

    This is what the Apostle Paul makes clear when he say:  "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her," adding at once: " 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.  This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church."

                    -- Catechism of the Catholic Church                           
                        paragraphs 1614-1616

            Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
                        (Psalm 34)