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Idaho Catholic Podcast

Monday, February 18, 2008

Conjugal love

This love is first of all fully human, that is to say, of the senses and of the spirit at the same time...principally, an act of the free will, intended to endure and to grow by means of the joys and sorrows of daily life, in such a way that husband and wife become one only heart and one soul, and together attain their human perfection. (HV, #9)

Then this love is total, that is to say, it is a very special form of personal friendship, in which husband and wife generously share everything, without undue reservations or selfish calculations. (HV, #9)

Again, this love is faithful and exclusive until death. (HV, #9)

Christ Our Lord has abundantly blessed this love, which is rich in its various features, coming as it does from the spring of Divine Love and modeled on Christ's own union with the Church. (GS, #48)

Authentic married love is caught up into Divine love and is directed and enriched by the redemptive power of Christ and the salvific action of the Church, with the result that the spouses are effectively led to God and are helped and strengthened in their lofty role as mothers and fathers. (GS, #48)

Hence the acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude. (GS, #49)

Man's sexuality and the faculty of reproduction wondrously surpass the endowments of lower forms of life; therefore, the acts proper to married life are to be ordered according to human dignity and must be honored with the greatest reverence. (GS, #51)

Let all be convinced that human life and its transmission are realities whose meaning is not limited by the horizons of this life only; their true evaluation and full meaning can only be understood in reference to man's eternal destiny. (GS, #51)

Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter--appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive
mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. In a word it is a question of the normal characteristics of all natural conjugal love, but with a new significance which not only purifies and strengthens them but raises them to the extent of making them the expression of specifically Christian values. (FC, #13)

“As a mutual gift of two persons, this intimate union, as well as the good of children, imposes total fidelity on the spouses and argues for an unbreakable oneness between them.” (FC, #20)

Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of an absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God blessed them and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Catechism, 1604)

The married couples forms “the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent.” Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble. “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Catechism, 2364)

Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one’s given word. God is faithful. The Sacrament of Matrimony enables man and woman to enter into Christ’s fidelity for his Church. Through conjugal chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the world. (Catechism, 2365)