THEME 3: COMMUNION IN MARRIAGE, THE FOUNDATION OF THE FAMILY COMMUNITY

1. Opening song/hymn

2. The Lord's Prayer

3. Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5: 25-30

"Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, so that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body."

4. A Reading from the Teaching of the Church:

The family, which is founded and given life by love, is a community of persons: of husband and wife, of parents and children, of relatives. Its first task is to live with fidelity the reality of communion in a constant effort to develop an authentic community of persons.

The first communion is the one which is established and which develops between husband and wife. By virtue of the covenant of married life, the man and woman "are no longer two but one flesh"(Matthew 19: 26; cf. Genesis 2: 24) and they are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving.

This conjugal communion sinks its roots in the natural complementarity that exists between man and woman and is nurtured by the spiritual willingness of the spouses to share their entire life project, what they have and what they are:...in the Lord Christ, God takes up this human need, confirms it, purifies it and elevates it, leading it to perfection through the sacrament of matrimony: the Holy Spirit...offers Christian couples the gift of a new communion of love that is the living and real image of that unique unity that makes of the Church the indivisible mystical body of the Lord Jesus.

The inner principle of that task, its permanent power and its final goal is love. Without love the family is not a community of persons and, in the same way, without love the family cannot live, grow and perfect itself as a community of persons.

Such a communion is radically contradicted by polygamy: This, in fact, directly negates the plan of God which was revealed from the beginning, because it is contrary to the equal personal dignity of men and women, who in matrimony give themselves with a love that is total and therefore unique and exclusive. (Likewise divorce is opposed to the personal and total self-giving of spouses, as well as the good of the children).

...the indissolubility (and unity) of marriage finds its ultimate truth in the plan that God has manifested in his revelation:....the absolutely faithful love that God has for man and that the Lord Jesus has for the Church. (cf. Familiaris Consortio)

5. The Bishop's Reflection

6. Dialogue:

What does it mean that married people are no longer two but one flesh?

What does "what God has joined, let no one put asunder" mean?

Communion in marriage - is it already fully perfect or must it grow and continue being perfected?

Polygamy, divorce and "free love" - are these manifestations of liberation or slavery?

7. Commitments

8. Psalm 121 (122)

"I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord!'"

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

10. Prayer for the Family

11. Final song/hymn

   

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