Marriage: Radiating the Love of Christ to the World

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Aquila Quote

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Blessed Pope Paul VI’s visionary letter Humanae Vitae, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver has issued a pastoral letter The Splendor of Love. Archbishop Aquila states that Blessed Paul VI “prophetically defended the integrity of married love and warned us against the danger of reducing sexuality to a source of pleasure alone” (SL, 1).

Archbishop Aquila states that his purpose in writing the pastoral letter is “to affirm the great beauty of the Church’s consistent teaching through the centuries on married love, a love that is so desperately needed today” (SL, 5). He goes on to say:

The family is the foundation of society, and when it is undermined, society itself is threatened with collapse. Therefore, it is crucial to reaffirm our commitment to the truth, goodness, and beauty of Christ’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. SL, 6

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How to Live Out the Four Goods in Your Marriage

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Last week we learned about the four goods of marriage and how they are woven into the very fabric of the vows that are part of the Marriage Rite of the Catholic Church. The wedding vows speak of: partnership, permanence, fidelity, and fruitfulness.

This week, we will show you how to live out the four goods in your marriage.

In marriage there are two people wounded by Original Sin with a natural bent to selfishness, who join their lives together for life. There will be struggles, hardships, disagreements, strife, and heartache. But the good news is that Jesus died on the cross to save us from sin and give us the grace we need to live out the four goods of marriage.

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The Four Goods of Marriage

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Creation of Eve, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Vatican, c. 1510-1511

If we asked, “What are the four goods of marriage?” would you know the answer? Did you learn about them in your marriage preparation? Have you ever heard a homily on the topic? If you are curious to know what the Church teaches on the goods of marriage, please read on.

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Families: Pray Together

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Fr Patrick Peyton

Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “The family that prays together stays together.” Did you know the phrase was coined in the 1940s by Father Patrick Peyton a Catholic media pioneer? Known as “The Rosary Priest,” Father Peyton used radio, television, and billboards to promote family prayer, especially praying the Holy Rosary.

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I Thirst for You

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Mother Teresa_Thirst

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20

The following is a meditation by St. Teresa of Calcutta on the above passage from the book of Revelation. May you encounter the living God, come down from heaven, Jesus Christ, in her words. He is the lover of your soul.

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Manifestation of the Lord

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'ADORATION OF THE MAGI'

Adoration of the Magi

Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Conception Abbey, Conception, Missouri

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”…and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11 (emphasis added)

“The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 528). The joy of the Magi upon seeing the Child is the joy of the Gospel. It is “the joy of one whose heart has received a ray of God’s light and who can now see that his hope has been realized—the joy of one who has found what he sought, and has himself been found” (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, 106). The Magi find “crying in a manger, the one they have followed as he shone in the sky…in swaddling clothes, the one they have long awaited as he lay hidden among the stars” (St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 150).

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The Most Holy Name of Jesus

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Name of Jesus_Bernadine of Siena

Today the Church commemorates the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. In his letter to the Church at Philippi, St. Paul wrote of the supremacy of the name of Jesus Christ: “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9) and “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10-11).

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The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

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The-Two-Trinities-MURILLO-Bartolomé-Esteban

The Two Trinities, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, c. 1675-82

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. Through the Incarnation, the Divine Word assumed a human body, entering into every aspect of human life, including family life, sanctifying it and making it a path to holiness.

Teacher and author Scott Hahn says,

The family is the key to Christmas. The family is the key to Christianity…When God came to save us, he made salvation inseparable from family life, manifest in family life. Since the family is the ordinary setting of human life, he came to share it, redeem it and perfect it. He made it an image and sacrament of a divine mystery. Salvation itself finds meaning only in familial relations.[1]

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The Nativity of the Lord

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Adoration of the Shepherds

Adoration of the Shepherds – Gerard van Honthorst (1590 – 1656)

Our family has a great affinity for Nativity scenes. We collect them, display them and enjoy looking at Nativity scenes from countries around the world. The variety of styles are fascinating and intriguing, yet their message is the same, “a savior has been born…who is Messiah and Lord” (Lk 2:11). It has been our custom that the manger remains empty until the dark hours of Christmas Eve. Our family gathers around the manger as Jesus is placed lovingly in the manger with reverence and awe. Traditionally, Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus is then read (Lk 2:1-20) or the birth of Emmanuel (Is 7:10-14), followed by a prayer of blessing such as this:

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The Lord Is Coming!

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The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2

On this the fourth Sunday of Advent and the Eve of the Nativity of the Lord, our prayer is that you realize the awesome gift God has given you through the birth of His Son. God loved you so much that He did not want sin to separate you from Him. He sent His beloved Son to die in your place so that you could spend eternity with Him. Spend time today contemplating all the Lord has done for you through this gift. May your heart be filled with joy at the coming of the Christ Child!

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