Friday, November 23, 2012

Marriage and the Paschal Mystery

Recently  I received  the following question from a married , lay theology student  :

".If one of the partners immediately after marriage falls a victim
> to accident/disease and becomes incapable of leading a sex life
> dont you think it would be inhuman  that the other partner should lead
> a celibate life thereafter ,and not seek secret  physical relief elsewhere?
> The church as such does not permit an acceptable solution in such cases.

I think I should share with  Readers , my  insight  in prayer regarding this and which I wrote to the person asking this question.  It is as follows :

- There is a difference between  marriage as a social institution
which  has been present in almost all cultures and times around the
world , and specifically  catholic sacramental marriage.

- Every catholic sacrament  is immersed in the Paschal Mystery .  The
union between a baptized man and a baptized woman  due to their mutual
self giving and acceptance  of each other [ their consent]   ,  is
very similar to Jesus Christ's  self giving  to  humanity thru His
passion, death and resurrection.

- Marriage  involves all dimensions of the spouses . When it is
consummated , it is a union not only in body but  also in spirit ,
thus  the two become  one flesh and also  have a spiritual bond.  I
think  one can compare  this marital union  with  mystical union with
God in prayer.   In Church history the union between spouses  has
been treated as inferior  to the celibate life  and lay people have
started studying theology  quite recently .  Actually  catholic
marriage can be seen as a Vocation , in no way inferior to  celibacy.
It is a sacrament . God is present  in the act of union between the
spouses and they co operate  with God and each other  to such a deeply
physical and spiritual level that  this love can bring a new life , a
soul  in this world .  Catholic marriage  is for the good of the
spouses  and for the procreation and education of children.  The
physical  union  is not merely meant to satisfy their human  desire or
satisfaction  , but  is  an act of  self giving and acceptance of each
other . It is  perhaps so similar to the highest forms of mystical
union in prayer   that  its time  married laity claimed   that  this
can be   THEIR  way of  coming close to God.

If after  a catholic sacramental marriage which is already consummated
, one of the partners  is unable to lead a sex life , you wonder why
the partner should be forced to live like a celibate.  I am wondering
,  isn't the  injured / sick  partner also  forced to live like a
celibate ?  Then why only the healthy  partner  feels  injustice ?  Do
they not vow to be with each other in sickness or in health ? After
the two have become one flesh and are bonded in spirit  , immersed in
the Paschal Mystery ,  when Jesus Christ Himself  was an innocent
victim  ,  is it Christian discipleship for the  physically healthy
partner to seek secret  satisfaction with someone else outside
marriage ?   Here the question is not about  human and inhuman . The
question is about  being an authentic disciple and  not being
authentic disciple of  Jesus Christ.   If the  marital  act is  so
sacred that  I will dare to call it a  Prayer that  brings the couple
very close to God  ,  how can  it be right to fall so low as to forget
ones  vows  to be faithful to ones partner and seek  fulfilment of
lust ?

I know  the  sexual instinct is God's  gift to every human being. But
at least I  believe it  IS possible to  exercise self control ,
abstinence etc  for a  higher  good that   catholic sacramental
marriage is supposed  to live.

Will it be Christian for a married  man or woman  to  fulfil the
sexual urges  by committing adultery , or  self indulgence thru
masturbation , or  abusing and raping innocent victims ?  Discipleship
can never permit this.

Christianity has the traditon of channelising these instincts thru
service , by  loving the  whole world. Can not the couple  be inspired
to adopt children ?

No comments:

Post a Comment