THEME 1: THE FAMILY, THE FRUIT OF MUTUAL GIVING IN MARRIAGE

1. Opening song/hymn

2. The Lord's Prayer

3. Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 6: 15-18

"Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, 'The two shall become one.' But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body."

4. A Reading from the Teaching of the Church:

God is love...Creating the human race in his own image and continually keeping it in being, God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion. Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.

The family has always been considered as the first and basic expression of man's social nature...The family originates in marital communion...a covenant in which man and woman give themselves to each other and accept each other.

Consequently sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is by no means something purely biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and a woman commit themselves totally to one another until death. The total physical self-giving would be a lie if it were not the sign and fruit of a total personal self-giving, in which the whole person, including the temporal dimension, is present. If the person were to withhold something or reserve the possibility of deciding otherwise in the future, by this very fact he or she would not be giving totally.

The only "place" in which this self-giving in its whole truth is made possible is marriage, the covenant of conjugal love freely and consciously chosen, whereby man and woman accept the intimate community of life and love willed by God himself (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48), which only in this light manifests its true meaning.

The institution of marriage is not an undue inference by society or by authority, nor the extrinsic imposition of a form. Rather it is an interior requirement of the covenant of conjugal love which is publicly affirmed as unique and exclusive in order to live in complete fidelity to God the Creator. A person's freedom, far from being restricted by this fidelity, is secured against every form of subjectivism or relativism and is made a sharer in creative wisdom.

This totality which is required by conjugal love also corresponds to the demands of responsible fertility. This fertility is directed to the generation of a human being, and so by its nature it surpasses the purely biological order and involves a whole series of personal values. For the harmonious growth of these values a persevering and unified contribution of both parents is necessary.

...Jesus Christ, the bridegroom who loves and gives himself as the Saviour of humanity, uniting it to himself as his body...reveals the original truth of marriage, the truth of the "beginning" (cf. Genesis 2: 24; Matthew 19: 5) and, freeing man from his hardness of heart, he makes man capable of realizing this truth in its entirety. (cf. Gaudium et Spes, Familiaris Consortio, Gratissimam Sane)

5. The Bishop's Reflection

6. Dialogue:

What is the moral disorder involved in fornication and pre-marital relations?

Why is marriage the only "place" where conjugal giving is possible?

Why does establishing a family first require a marriage commitment?

7. Commitments (for example...)

To appreciate and value the marriage commitment which sustains and guides my family.

A concrete action that shows my spouse or my parents how grateful I am for their gift.

8. Psalm 132 (133)

"Behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell in unity!"

9. Hail Mary.....Queen of the Family: Pray for us.

10. Prayer for the Family

11. Final song/hymn

   

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