Friday, 13 February 2015

The Synod on Marriage and the Family. 1.

Having let some time pass, my thoughts on this subject have matured and I can make the following series of comments.
The complexity of the human situation today regarding marriage and the Christian life tells us that the secular vision has intruded heavily upon marriage and the family. Homosexual unions, the call for remarriage to be recognised in the sacramental life, and the call for free unions to be re-evaluated, and so many other issues, are being spoken of as legitimate arguments for why the teaching of the Church should be changed. What this represents is the secularisation of marriage and the family, in which scenario the Church is now seen as the one who imposes burdens.
This does indeed look like Satan's strategy; changing things around so that it seems that it is the Church, and not the secular vision, which imposes burdens upon people. And in which what is essential is made to feel marginal or obsolete.
Marriage, like the priesthood, is something which one receives, or enters into, on a particular day. Yet these sacraments are callings which change us, form us, in our whole person, for the whole of life. This is why we speak of them as vocations.
Marriage (like priesthood) is something which one enters into freely, and which then frees one for living one's vocation. It is a vocation which marks the whole of one's life, and lasts for the whole of life. Becoming a spouse is a way in which one's whole being is involved in a particular mission. This mission is to love one's spouse and, in so doing, to stand at the very heart of human society and its flourishing. Out of spousal love flows the family, and out of the family flows society. 
The vocation to marriage is God-given, and is central to all human life and activity. Everything about a spouse is called to be incorporated and fashioned by his or her vocation; heart, mind, body, work, plans and hopes, money, virtues, and the life of grace.
Since everyone of us comes from a marriage and a family, the family is the first and primary focus of our lives. All other interests are secondary to the family.
Yet today, all the other interests, including marginal and ephemeral ones have been given primary focus in the secular vision. So today, lifestyle, career, wealth and self-centeredness have been superimposed on the family, and on marriage. The consequence of this is that we no longer see marriage and the family for what they are, and seek to change them in favour of newly perceived goals in life.
The Church however, does continue to see the essential truth about marriage and the family, yet the secular clamour has entered into the Church today.
(To be continued.)

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