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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Two Thumbs Up for my Pastor who Gave a Great Homily on Marriage!

We often hear some in the Church lamenting how bad Vatican II was, but here's a quote that is right on target, one to meditate on frequently:
"The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws....God himself is the author of marriage."
                                                     Gaudium et Spes #48
This is the portion quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that Father read to us this morning, but it would be well worth while to pull out your copy of the documents of the council (You have one right?) and read the entire section on marriage. I'm leaving for retreat tomorrow and I'm taking it as a source of meditation so I can reflect on how I'm doing after 45 years.
What I found most challenging about Father's homily is the fact that, while not taking to task the justices who gave us this national abomination, he focused on what led up to it. Marriage, in fact, wasn't redefined by the court last week, he said. It has been in the state of redefinition for decades due to easy divorce and contraception.

All of us in the church, he said, need to examine our consciences and repent of the ways we contributed to the decision. That certainly got me thinking about my own past sins against the virtue of chastity and my personal rebellion against the laws of God. I venture to guess that almost every adult in the church this morning played some role in the same-sex marriage decision either by direct sin or by cooperation in the sins of others.

Father pointed out the four essential characteristics of marriage which is faithful, permanent, irrevocable to death, and open to children. He also stressed the necessity of free consent. He described how contraception makes it so much easier to be unfaithful, not to mention its role in rejecting children. Easy divorce has eaten away at the permanence of marriage making even Catholics today, wink at serial marriage. How many parents have blessed and encouraged the invalid second (or third or fourth) marriages of their adult children?

How many times we hear the secular mantra, "I (he, she) have (has) a right to be happy." No, not at all. We have a right, freely given to us by our wonderful God, to His unconditional love. But it isn't a soft love. It's a love that calls us to account. God will NEVER reject us; but we can reject Him. He doesn't send anyone to hell. People freely choose the path that leads there.

But if we love God, we will do all in our power to lead as many to heaven as we can. Father challenged all the married couples today to "do marriage well." By our witness, we can change things. But people need to see our good marriages to be moved by them.

So I personally resolve today to be the best wife to my husband that I can be -- to frequently recall those marriage vows to love and to honor richer, in poorer, in good times and bad, ...until death do us part. In October we'll celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary. We've made it this far and are determined to keep it going. It hasn't always been easy, but it has certainly been worth it.

May God bless your marriage today and every day. Be assured of my prayers for you. If you are reading this and are married, or are divorced or separated,or are thinking about marriage, or are struggling in your marriage -- I'm praying for you this week while I'm on retreat. And when I read Gaudium et Spes, I will be offering its hope and promise for you.

Please pray for me too. And a big thank you to Fr. Michael Dobbins for his wonderful homily this morning. Pray for priests!


David Roemer said...

Reasons to Believe in Jesus

Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

by David Roemer


Elizabeth said...

Mary Ann:

Did your parish include the USCCB Insert in their Bulletin yesterday? Every single parish across the country was supposed to. Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

David, Be careful slinging words. ..Haeckel was a monist as well as the missing link between Darwin and Hitler.

Anonymous said...

Read this catholic encyclopedia article on monism to see that it's a complex term that can mean radically different things. David has many positive things to say about monism but it's important that people understand it has understood in another sense wreaked havoc in modern times.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

No Elizabeth. I'm expecting it to turn up next Sunday. Perhaps it arrived too late for inclusion.

David Roemer said...

Thomas Nagel did not say "monism" is correct. He said "some form of monism." The important point is that he rejects dualism, materialism, and idealism. All that is left is the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas: Humans are finite beings and embodied spirits. I explain these matters at