Saturday, May 26, 2018

Adult Faith Formation, May 22 -- Marriage in Scripture (Series on Marriage, part 3 of 6 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Objectives of Session 3 – Marriage in Scripture
1) To recognize the teaching of marriage present in the creation account
2) To be able to account for polygamy and divorce in the Old Testament
3) To appreciate the New Testament teachings on marriage and virginity

Listen online [here]!

Adult Faith Formation:
Marriage, In Scripture and in the Church
Session 3 – Marriage in Scripture, Old Testament and New

I. Review of Last Week: Marriage and Family
A. Outline of Sessions:
1. May 1 – Introduction to marriage, in nature and in the Church
2. May 8 – Marriage and family life
[May 15 – NO SESSION]
3. May 22 – Marriage in Scripture, both the Old Testament and the New
4. May 29 – Matrimonial Consent and Indissolubility
5. June 5 – Celibacy and Marriage
6. June 12 – Modern objections to the Church’s teaching, Review
B. Definition of marriage, Matrimony – Marriage ordered to family
C. The motives, blessings, goods of marriage

II. The Creation Narrative:

“Since  God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man.”  (CCC 1604)

Questions which may arise from the creation narrative. 
            1. Would there have been male and female without the fall?  Diverse answers from the saints.
            2. Would there have been sexual reproduction without the fall? Again, diverse answers.
            3. Did Adam and Eve’s children marry one another? Brothers and sisters?

III. Questions about matrimony in the Old Law: Polygamy
Many of the patriarchs had multiple wives, and yet this does not seem to be considered sinful.
St Thomas, and the tradition, tell us that a special dispensation was given in this case, to allow for the propagation of the nation. Or, some Fathers state that the patriarchs were ignorant. In any case, we cannot accuse the patriarchs of sin – consider how David repented in the one case in which he was lustful.

IV. Questions about matrimony in the Old Law: Divorce
Divorce was never lawful. However, in order to avoid a much greater evil (wife-murder), God permitted this evil on account of the hardness of our hearts. Indeed, the demands for a bill of divorce required the husbands to give some account for their actions, and also avoided the great evil of throwing a wife off without any reason at all. Likewise, forbid the evil of taking her back again (which was causing women to be horribly used).
The bill of divorce actually protected women, though it was only a step toward the fulness which was to be revealed in Christ.

V. Marriage in the New Testament
“In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning: permission given by Moses to divorce one’s wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble.”  (CCC 1614)
“By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, [Christ] himself gives the strength and the grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God … This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all the Christian life.”  (CCC 1615)

VI. Virginity in the New Testament
“Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the Kingdom of God come from the Lord himself. It is he who gives them meaning and grants them the grace which is indispensable for living them out in conformity with his will. Esteem of virginity for the sake of the kingdom and the Christian understanding of marriage are inseparable, and they reinforce each other:
“Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be truly good. The most excellent good is something even better than what is admitted to be good.” (CCC 1620)

Marriage is good, even though celibacy is an higher vocation.

And yet, marriage is the common theme by which the union of Christ and his Church is expressed – even virginity is understood in “matrimonial language” (being wed to Christ or to the Church).


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