Monday, November 3, 2008

More on marriage

In their 2006 statement on marriage, Married Love and the Gift of Life, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops observed that couples "considering marriage yearn for certain things". At root their longing is the human longing for unity, for completeness, for happiness. The object of their desire, whether they know it or not, is well-expressed by the Psalmist: "As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God" (Ps. 42.1). In his Exposition on Psalm 42, St. Augustine opines that the one yearning for the face of God is not "one individual," but the "One Body," which is "Christ’s Body," the church.

Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete asks how do we see the church’s unity "with our eyes" and "grasp it with our hearts as a reality, as a verifiable fact of life, as a unity that makes us long so strongly for a vision of the face of God" (Traces, vol. 8 2008, pg. 51)? His answer, taking a cue from Genesis (2,24), is found in the fifth chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians: "'For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church" (5.31-32). It is through holy matrimony that "the unity between God and His people becomes a visible reality in this world" (Traces, pg. 51).

This is an edited extract of a position paper on marriage I have been working on this month.

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