Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sunday 27B. "the two of them become one flesh": in Holy Matrimony man and woman are one in love for life

"It is not good for the man to be alone."

We all need some solitude, time to be alone.  But no matter what our vocation all of us need the company of others as a constant reality in our lives.  As a priest I always appreciate and grow to love more and more the horizon of the family, my best friends to this day and the people I will always have in my life as long as it endures.  Any of us can enjoy friendship.  It is one of the most beautiful gifts that God has given us although like all that is good it is also sometimes difficult to keep and to make grow and flourish.  Our family for may of us are the friends that stay with us throughout the changes of life.

There is one kind of friendship, however, that is so important that it is unique: the love between man and woman.  Man and woman in marriage stand apart from all other possible relationships because only these two are capable, with the sincere mutual gift of themselves, of becoming "one flesh".

"Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone." The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh." (CCC 1605)

No other relationship is capable, obviously under the right conditions, of bringing forth new lives.  Man and woman are capable, unlike other relationships, of becoming "one flesh", of enjoying a union of love so powerful as to cooperate with God in creation, to "co-create" with Him.

"Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." All human generations proceed from this union." (CCC 2335)

But marriage was never meant by God only for the man and the woman who share the gift.  No, this gift of loving friendship is ordered toward the procreation of new life; unlike any other, it is a vocation fundamentally ordered toward others as well as unifying for the two who share it like all other friendships.  "Go forth, and multiply," said God when He gave the gift of the love of man and woman, "fill the earth and subdue it."

Thus we respect in every way this truth about marriage: that God has joined two things, the unitive love of the spouses and the procreative power of their love, in the one bond of holy matrimony.  And we defend this truth as lovers of God and His holy will and as lovers of persons and their highest good.

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