Humanae Vitae 25a: To Christian Couples

sperm and eggHumanae Vitae is online at the Vatican site, and the text highlighted below is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

This section, which we’ll cover in two posts, is addressed directly to Catholic couples:

25. And now We turn in a special way to Our own sons and daughters, to those most of all whom God calls to serve Him in the state of marriage. While the Church does indeed hand on to her children the inviolable conditions laid down by God’s law, she is also the herald of salvation and through the sacraments she flings wide open the channels of grace through which (the person) is made a new creature responding in charity and true freedom to the design of his Creator and Savior, experiencing too the sweetness of the yoke of Christ. (See Mt 11. 30) In humble obedience then to her voice, let Christian husbands and wives be mindful of their vocation to the Christian life, a vocation which, deriving from their Baptism, has been confirmed anew and made more explicit by the Sacrament of Matrimony. For by this sacrament they are strengthened and, one might almost say, consecrated to the faithful fulfillment of their duties.

I think one might definitely say “consecrated.”

Thus will they realize to the full their calling and bear witness as becomes them, to Christ before the world. (See Gaudium et Spes 48; Lumen Gentium 35, 40-41) For the Lord has entrusted to them the task of making visible to men and women the holiness and joy of the law which united inseparably their love for one another and the cooperation they give to God’s love, God who is the Author of human life.

A significant thought. Part of the mission of marriage is to unite with Christ and his mission of spreading and preaching the Gospel. More emphasis there would be most helpful, I think. All too often, the focus of marriage catechesis is inward, on the couple and on their family. A sacramental generativity should also be facing outward, and able to spread the witness of love and commitment to the benefit of others.

We have no wish at all to pass over in silence the difficulties, at times very great, which beset the lives of Christian married couples. For them, as indeed for every one of us, “the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life.” (Mt 7. 14; see Heb 12. 11) Nevertheless it is precisely the hope of that life which, like a brightly burning torch, lights up their journey, as, strong in spirit, they strive to live “sober, upright and godly lives in this world,” (See Ti 2. 12) knowing for sure that “the form of this world is passing away.” (See 1 Cor 7. 31)

Jesus would certainly acknowledge these difficulties. I believe he would address them with confidence in people, and with mercy ready at hand. What do you think?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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