So there we have it!!
MARRIAGE UNDER THE PEDAGOGY OF THE LAW
Paragraph 1609 says, “In his mercy God has not forsaken sinful man. The punishments consequent upon sin, ‘pain in childbearing’ and toil ‘in the sweat of your brow,’ also embody remedies that limit the damaging effects of sin.”
These are not curses given by God to the woman, “You are going to have pain in childbirth”
Or curses by God given to the man, “You are going to toil by the sweat of your brow.”
These are REMEDIES because the man and woman failed to love by choosing themselves over the other
Adam just stands there as Eve is eating the fruit of the tree that they were forbidden to eat
Adam did not protect Eve from the Serpent
Adam chooses himself over Eve
Eve also chooses herself
So what happens?
God says, “Ok, from now on, as often as you love, it is going to cost something. Love from now on is going to involve sacrifice. So yes, you will give birth to new life with bodies and souls that will be in God’s image and likeness, and it will be painful. You are going to love this child with everything you have, and it will be a sacrifice because from now on, love always involves sacrifice.”
As for the man, “You are going to provide for your family, you are going to work hard, you are going to care for them. And in that love, it is going to cost you something, in that love it will involve sacrifice.”
This is not meant to be a punishment
IT IS MEANT TO BE A REMEDY!!
It helps us OVERCOME SELF ABSORPTION
It helps us OVERCOME EGOISM
How many of us look at our lives as if we are the stars of our own lives?
Then all of a sudden, there is a spouse in your life, a child in your life
You realize that you are NOT the star
You are a SUPPORTING CHARACTER
It helps us to open ourselves up to the other, to mutual aid and self giving
That is the heart of this
God’s original plan was JUST the gift of love
Because of the Fall, here is how we now experience this
Even in that, what happens?
Even in the brokenness of our hearts and brokenness of our relationships, the point is and the hope is that we still learn how to love
We can never forget that from now on, in this broken world, in this world after Original Sin, LOVE ALWAYS DEMANDS SACRIFICE
LOVE ALWAYS INVOLVES SACRIFICE!!
Here’s a story from Fr. Mike about a student of his…
Let’s make it clear that love is not always drudgery
Love is also amazing and an incredible gift and a sign of God’s goodness
Spending time with the person you love means you are sacrificing time you could use to do anything else
So that is a sacrifice even it it’s one you are happy to make
The fact that you choose one person means you are sacrificing everyone else for that role
Choosing one person to marry means everyone else has been sacrificed in the sense that they are no longer an option
LOVE ALWAYS INVOLVES SACRIFICE!!
While God’s original plan was union between ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN that lasted for life in mutual support
After the Fall, there is this pedagogy that God has to raise up people and make it clearer and clearer that this is marriage between ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN
We read the Bible and there are stories of kings and patriarchs who practiced polygamy
Isn’t that confusing?
Pedagogy is the teaching
Here’s another Fr. Mike story…
God is a really good teacher
His people were used to polygamy
They were used to dominating each other and using each other
They were used to getting by and not seeing the other person as an image and likeness of God
So what does God do?
In His pedagogy, He is reminding them that originally one man and one woman was the norm
The Law of Moses talked about this
The continuation of Fr. Mike’s story…
In polygamy, each woman you are married to is not your property
Each woman you are married to is not subjected to your arbitrary domination
There still has to be this relationship that is one of trust
One of love
One of respect
One that actually acknowledges the dignity of the spouses
God was taking a rough people because no one saw human beings as having a dignity of their own
People easily saw others as simply being property
God tolerated polygamy and divorce until He could teach that is not what it was in the beginning and that is not what it will be from now on
MARRIAGE IN THE LORD
Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning
In the beginning, ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN
NOT ANYTHING ELSE!!
That is what it’s going to be from here on out
Jesus makes this abundantly clear with no compromise
The people challenge Jesus and He says, “Yeah, [Moses] did. Why? Because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses permitted divorce. But in the beginning, it was not so.”
Paragraph 1615 says, “This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy-heavier than the law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God.”
The disciples said, “Wait, if that’s the truth, then it’s better not to marry.”
They were so disheartened by this
Jesus said, “If you divorce your wife and marry another, you are committing adultery because you have already married. That relationship cannot be dissolved. That marriage is permanent. It is lifelong, even if you walk away or even if the other person walks away.”
That teaching may have left some perplexed and could seem to be an impossible demand
What does this mean?
Jesus did not come to just give us new rules
We all know that rules in and of themselves do not change hearts
If there is a rule and Jesus says, “Ok here is the new law. No divorce.”
Ok that doesn’t change my heart all of a sudden
If Jesus says, “You have heard in the Old Covenant thou shall not commit adultery. But I am saying those of you who commit adultery in your heart are still guilty.”
Ok that new rule doesn’t change the heart, but Jesus will change the heart
Jesus doesn’t just give new rules
Jesus gives new hearts
How do we get those new hearts?
Paragraph 1615 continues, “It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to ‘receive’ the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life.”
It’s not a matter of thinking holy thoughts, reading the Bible, and letting Jesus do all the work
Yes, there is grace that changes hearts
WE HAVE TO COOPERATE WITH THAT GRACE!!
It is very clear what that cooperation with grace looks like
By following Christ, renouncing ourselves, and taking up our crosses, that gives us the kind of hearts that can love the unlovable
That gives us the kind of hearts that can do the undoable
That gives us the kind of hearts that can forgive the unforgivable
So many listeners here are in that kind of situation
You may wonder how to even do this
How do I keep loving my spouse when they’re here?
How do I keep loving my spouse when they’ve walked away?
Or maybe you are the one who walked away
What do you do now?
I don’t know
I’m sorry about that
The long answer is, you need to follow Christ, renounce yourself, and take up your cross
You need to love in whatever way you can
THIS IS A HIGH CALL!!
Especially in a world under the regime of sin
You are going through a lot
Your story is not over yet
God loves you and wants to give you the grace to take whatever the next best step is
What is the good next step that God is calling you to take?
GOD LOVES YOU!!
God is going to give you that grace to take that hard step to follow Him, to renounce yourself, and take up your cross
Remember in Baptism, we are made not only God’s sons and daughters
We are made into a FAMILY WITH EACH OTHER
In this family, WE ARE ALL BROKEN
In this family, WE ARE ALL IN NEED
In this family, WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
This doesn’t necessarily solve any problems but it does matter because prayers matter and you matter
We are the Body of Christ and God loves YOU
Whatever your story is, it is not over yet
God loves you as you are
God loves us too much to let us stay where we are and stay as we are
YOU are a part of this family
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!