The next two sections explore “Faith and the family.” Let’s draw out the themes of this section which provides important material which deserves a deeper reflection–probably a theological treatise of its own:
52. In Abraham’s journey towards the future city, the Letter to the Hebrews mentions the blessing which was passed on from fathers to sons (cf. Heb 11:20-21). The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family.
Marriage is lauded here as founded on a reflection of God’s love as seen in the human love of spouses-to-be:
I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan.
I understand and accept the qualities listed here. But couples, aside from differentiation, also enjoy complementariness as well as other values that unite them in a sacramental bond. Perhaps the biggest poverty in modern marriage is communication, and in this letter, we’ve been reading quite a bit about the act of God in illuminating the seeker or believer. But that’s a topic for another day
The discipline of commitment within the bounds of a plan beyond our own selves, our own agenda, when we encounter one important to us:
Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love. Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person. So it was that Sarah, by faith, became a mother, for she trusted in God’s fidelity to his promise (cf. Heb 11:11).
I don’t perceive the importance of the letter to the Hebrews in being cited as much as it is here. I’ve read a few commentaries that have noted these citations.
At any rate, a good start in linking faith to marriage, and offering an entry point from a tradition whose blessings were not lost by human transgression in the early chapters of Genesis.