Sunday, October 07, 2012

Marriage: It's the Gospel for today.

Marriage is a vocation... yadda, yadda, tadda ...

I know that already.  Although, personally, I think it is ordinary life - one is either married or single - thus, for  me the  'original' vocation is best described - and distinguished - by the Catechism:
2331 "God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image . . .. God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion."115  "God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them";116 He blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply";117 "When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created."118 - CCC 
The Pharisees approached asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" They were testing him.

Yet like the Pharisees of old, many today question the whole concept of marriage and vocation, not a few seeking perhaps to justify themselves - for instance, in the single state.  I say it like that because some people may not have the ability or generosity to commit themselves to follow a deeper call or vocation.  I know!  I'm sure that statement makes people mad - because some people make the excuse that they just can't find the right person to marry, or the right religious community to enter, or the right seminary to study in.  Of course others may have legitimate impediments, and they ought to just let the question go.  But I digress.  My intention is to talk about marriage here.

So yeah, marriage is a vocation - when it is in accord with God's will of course.  I'm not a theologian so I'm not attempting to define anything here - go to the Catechism for clear teaching on the subject.
Quite seriously, I see life more in terms of God's will, which I suppose is the same as his call - and that call originates in baptism - therein is vocation.  So whatever state in life I find myself - I am single - I am called.  The call exists within that context or state of being.  Perhaps I am not saying it well, but, as I said in a comment on another post, personally I am not interested in hairsplitting definitions of vocation - and some people waste time and procrastinate doing that - it's a form of evasion.

Random: Divorce harms children.

I believe the married state is the normal, ordinary state most men and women are called to, priesthood is the highest call or vocation, religious life is essentially consecrated single life lived in community - it too is a well defined vocation.  For those who are single, they too can consecrate their lives by fully living their baptismal vows - hence they can call it a vocation if they need too.  Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with ordinary life - as the Holy Family of Nazareth demonstrated.  Christ was never married - which means he was single.  Thus wouldn't it follow he sanctified single life?  If you need a pedigree, add IAS after your name - I Am Single.

I'm not sure why we try so hard to define ourselves, or seek to complicate our lives by making ourselves more special than we already are: beloved sons and daughters of God, in and through Jesus Christ.  I must be getting simple minded.

"Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate."

In Christ's time he spoke of a man issuing a decree of divorce, and although today's Gospel mentions the women suing for divorce, yet I think it wasn't all that common or easy for women to do so, since women had few, if any rights.  Today it is completely different.  Women have equal rights - which just may explain why so many Catholic bachelor-ettes want single life to be called a vocation.  It also explains why there are a lot of divorces and annulments. 

I had a friend who married a Guatemalan woman.  They had kids and she went to school.  She got a degree, got a job and adopted feminist attitudes towards marriage and reproductive rights.  She left my friend and the kids and moved in with a woman.  Similarly, not a few Catholic men have wives who left them because the husbands may have been too Catholic for them - in as much as the wife rejected Church teaching on contraception and abortion.  Modern reasons for divorce are different today, and the petitioner of divorce has changed - Christ's teaching has not.

Divorce has undermined the sanctity of marriage for decades.  Modern life and poular culture has as well - insofar as it has changed the mindset of people who prefer to be single rather than to be married; people who live together rather than be married; and those who divorce rather than accept the truth about marriage.  I think such people undermine and help to redefine marriage as much as gay activists do.

Today's Gospel also explains why same sex marriage can't exist:
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh. - Mark 10: 2-16

Works for me.

Disclaimer: I may be way off base here - so pay no attention to me and drop me from your reading list if you don't like what I say. Consult your Catechism and Scripture and Diocesan Tribunal instead of wasting your time with a blogging-busy-body, narcissistic hypocrite like me.  Thank you.


  1. I find it fascinating that, especially in light of this Gospel passage, modern Catholics are more obsessed with gay marriage than the multitudes of "declarations of nullity" issued by chanceries across the country.

    1. Thom, what if many people are actually NOT being validly married because they actually don't intend what the Church intends in the first place?

    2. I think they are clamping down on the easy annulment stuff as well - I might be wrong. It would really be easy for ss marriages - since they'd be null and void anyway! Haha! I always see the light side!

    3. Thomas OFS brings up a very good point insofar as the separation and annulment scandal is a problem the bishops have control over and do nothing about while complaining about homosexual marriages that they have not control over.

      Further, the separation and annulment scandal is the worst scandal currently facing the Church because it is so pervasive, and is not going away but is becoming worse because of the progessives stress on unity over procreation.

    4. I don't see why the "stress of unity over procreation" is the source. And what you may see as unity OVER procreation may be just the fact that the Church now recognizes unity as important. I mean, does a man marry a woman because he thinks "I want to procreate with her"? I always thought that God uses our desire for unity in order to get us to procreate - couples who have a strong unitive bond tend to want to have lots of children. Nature's reasons are procreation, but humans do not operate in the realm of "baby, do you feel like procreating this evening?" (yes, I know couples will do a lot of "trying for a baby," but I tend to believe that there is nothing wrong with couples making love out of a desire for intimacy, and accepting whatever God sends them).

      And don't you think it may have much more do do with the fact that with so many people completely uncatechized and getting married in the Church when they have no business doing so, that this MIGHT mean there are lots of marriages that really are invalid?

      love the girls, I am seeking annulment right now because my wife literally dumped me because I decided we should follow the Church's teaching on contraception and sexual morality. She divorced me after less than 2 years of marriage, and will hear nothing, nothing, nothing about the Church's teaching on divorce, or her vows. She literally does not care, because as she says she's never going to try to marry in the Church anyway, so it's my problem if I believe that stuff.

      So I'm supposed to just suck it up? Or am I wrong for seeking an investigation into the validity of such a marriage?

    5. And notice that the Biblical texts today were all about marital unity and didn't say anything about procreation. Divorce is an assault first and foremost against marital unity and indissolubility. Even a barren marriage is binding, and in the OT marriage was a breakable union that was merely focused on procreation. Unity is what makes Christian marriage different from OT, divorce-okay, marriage in the first place.

      It's not stressing unity over procreation that is the problem; it's stressing emotions and subjective desires over duty and vows that is the problem.

      IF my marriage is not annulled, I know all too well what awaits me. But I'm sorry if my seeing an annulment offends anyone. Less than two freaking years, and dumped because of the Church. I'd love to know if it really is valid or not.

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  3. Terry - did you get my previous post? I was asked to enter my user ID and then I think I lost it.

    Anyway, first I wanted to say "IAS" is hilarious.

    Second, I always get taken aback by the overwhelming sense of contempt for marriage that one finds among the Fathers and the Saints - and sometimes I feel like the modern talk to marriage as a vocation or as "where God wants me to be" is a cover for being lazy Christians or being interested in our own desires and not God's. I know that for myself, MY desire to be married is very strong - I do not want to do anything apart form God's will, but I cannot say that I am doing it BECAUSE I'd be serving God that way. I think for most people who get married it's the same - people WANT to get married ... is that bad?

    I remember reading a few letters form St. Alphonsus as late as the 18th century where he told young people not to marry, even if they decide religious life is not for them. He says St. Paul commends it to no one, and he thinks that unless one is struggling with chastity constantly, then it's better to stay single and never marry, and that in any event it's just as easy to go to hell for sins against chastity in marriage than outside of it.

    This view - that marriage is for those who cannot keep their pants on, and that anyone who can manage chastity outside of marriage has no business getting married - is a haunting one, because at 30 years old I can say that, with God's grace I do not struggle greatly with this, though my desires for both the emotional and physical intimacy of a wife are strong (as I am sure they are for most priests even). I always wonder if that means I am "stuck" choosing a celibate way of life, since I do not "need" marriage to keep my pants on.

    Finally, my annulment - if it does not go through, it will be upsetting, but I will praise God for sending me such a trial as a chance to become holy. But if it DOES go through, I am always afraid of "what if it IS valid and they made a mistake"? Then I'd be an adulterer if I got remarried.

    Granted, my marriage lasted just over 15 months, and my wife unilaterally divorced me with no discussion, no counseling, and her admitted primary reason was my decision to follow the Church's teaching on sexual morality, particularly contraception, and to teach any future children what the Church teaches. She said the man she married is gone. So if she never intended to live what the Church teaches, I wonder how valid a marriage can be. Still, I hope the tribunal doesn't err, because I do not want to face God and find out I was an adulterer.

    1. If it goes through you accept what the Church has loosed - is that the right way to say it? You would be acting in good faith. The primary reason is sufficient for an anullment.

      I seriously never ever wanted to be married. Like the early virgin martyrs I would rather throw myself into the fire than endure it. LOL! I'm actually kind of serious. I can't even imagine why gay people say they want to be married. I agree with Rupert Everett on that one.

  4. I felt a strong urge to drive 50 miles one way to the Fathers of Mercy generalate for Mass this morning. I'm glad I did. I heard this morning for the first time in my 46 years a sermon that included a rebuke for Catholics who contracept and approach the communion rail, an admonition for Married couples who are not open to life and finally a commemoration of the victory/defeat of the Muslim invasion of Europe at Lepanto.......followed by a rosary procession after Mass. It was well worth the drive. I go there because everyone kneels to receive communion at the rail but each time I get so much more.....

    1. servus! there you are.

      How are things?

    2. You should maybe enter that order then?

  5. Dear concerned single woman: I changed spinster to bachelorette.


  6. I think such people undermine and help to redefine marriage as much as gay activists do.

    I find it odd that there is so much fear of ss marriage destroying the "sacred institution of marriage" I ask, "Really?" Do people really think that ss marriage will destroy marriage in general?

    I think the straight marriage crowd, with divorces, and common law shacking up, and adultery etc etc etc, treating marriage as finite and dispensible, who actually expect to have "starter" marriages have already destroyed the "Sacred Institution of Marriage" so much that ss marriage can't possibly destroy it any further. If marriage is so sacred why haven't we treated it better than we have? Honestly, why would the gays want to inherit the hell we've made out of marriage?

    1. I couldn't agree more. Furthermore - what can destroy civilization more than abortion on demand.

  7. I want to add: They cannot desecrate marriage any more than we have; only in our weakness are they strong.

  8. I don't understand the distinction about marriage as "ordinary life." Do priests and religious live a life in an unordinary or extraordinary realm? Supernatural, perhaps, as opposed to natural, but something other than ordinary?

    St. Therese sought God in the 'ordinariness' that surrounded her, I think. The ordinariness of love to the people in front of her, and in the tasks assigned to her, and in her sufferings and joys. And she was a religious.

    I don't think anyone lives in some special realm - if someone is not seeking holiness in the concrete, then it cannot be found. The distinction that separates priests and religious, in their own way, is by virtue of what their vocation is ordered towards directly, whereas with the married, there is a natural end more immediately, though all the baptized, as you note, have a supernatural vocation as their true end and meaning, which is to be lived out in the ordinariness of everyday life, I think.

    1. Those are 'my' terms - but you know that. Anyway - you explain it yourself in your comment. What I mean by that is that the majority of men and women get married - or remain single - the majority do not become priests or enter monasteries. I'm not sure how much more needs to be said?

    2. I thought "Ordinary" meant everyone wears green.


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