“School” Retreat Day Six: Marriage Lives by God’s Law of Love
Breaking Open the Theme
“Married love particularly reveals its true nature and nobility when we realize that it takes its origin from God […] Marriage, then, is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design” (Humanae Vitae, no. 8). If marriage is part of God’s loving design for man and woman, then there are specific laws that He has instituted to guide it. By “preserving intact the whole moral law of marriage, the Church is convinced that she is contributing to the creation of a truly human civilization” (Humanae Vitae, no.18).
The law of marriage is part of God’s law of love that protects human love from manipulation and inauthenticity. This law also governs and protects life, the fruit of love. For this reason, “to experience the gift of married love while respecting the laws of conception is to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator” (Humanae Vitae, no.13). Thus, “the Church’s teaching is meant to help couples to experience in a complete, harmonious and conscious way their communion as husband and wife, together with their responsibility for procreating life” (Amoris Laetitia, no. 82). Love and life, therefore, are designed and guided by God’s law, allowing for their natural flourishing and fulfillment.
Some couples struggle with God’s law governing the sanctity of sexual intercourse, reserved for marriage, as a one-flesh union open to life. There is a natural, God-given means for the regulation of birth (commonly called Natural Family Planning), which allows couples to responsibly welcome life as their situations allow. There is no reason, therefore, to fear that God or the Church unreasonably expects more than a couple can give. If you or another couple is confused by the Church’s teaching on the natural regulation of births, talk to your priest or diocesan family life director. More information can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/index.cfm.
To Think About
(Choose one or more of the following questions to reflect on by yourself and/or with your spouse)
(1) Do I understand what the Church teaches about the regulation of births? Am I aware of a natural family planning alternative to contraception?
(2) How can I support or help educate another couple that struggles with this issue?
(3) What does following God’s law of love mean to my spouse and me? Does it impact the way we look at our marriage?
Holy Couples – Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame
Prayer of Married Couples
Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of husband and wife
so that we might reflect
the union of Christ with His Church:
look with kindness on us.
Renew our marriage covenant.
Increase your love in us,
and strengthen our bond of peace
so that, [with our children],
we may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.