"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."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.
Gaudium et Spes #48
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 him....in 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!