THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Friday, August 12th, 2016
Opt. Memorial of St. Frances de Chantal
Liturgical texts here
SEVERAL years ago during the pontificate of St. John Paul II, Cardinal Carlo Caffara (Archbishop of Bologna) received a letter from Fatima visionary, Sr. Lucia. In it, she described what the “Final Confrontation” would be over:
…the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid… because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. —Inside the Vatican, Letter #27, 2015: On This Day; insidethevatican.com
There is no need to explain whether or not this prophecy is true: the fruits of family disintegration are all around us, most notably, in the rulings of Supreme Courts that undermine and redefine the definitions of marriage and human sexuality. The battle is well underway.
Even within the Church (of all places), a battle is simmering over the giving of Communion to Catholics who have divorced and remarried outside of the Church, that is, outside of the Sacrament of Marriage. While this is referred to today as an “irregular union”, the proper word for it is “adultery.” It sounds harsh, but objectively, it is the state in which many couples today find themselves, even though they may have children and are far happier than their previous arrangements.
But happiness was not the standard by which the Lord judged a relationship to be authentic or not—though happiness is certainly an intended fruit. Indeed, peace and joy are the natural fruits that spring from obedience to God’s will, which is ordered to our happiness. Rather, the standard by which the Lord defines marriage is the free and permanent commitment to a member of the opposite sex that is consummated in the conjugal act.
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate. (Today’s Gospel)
Not man, but God has joined husband and wife. That is, they are now united in spirit such that they are truly “one.” So profound is this unity in its indissolubility and openness to fertility, that it is a reflection of not only the Holy Trinity but of Christ’s love and union with the Church. No wonder Satan is attacking marriage and family because their very essence is inextricably linked to God’s own essence and divine order. To undermine marriage and the family, from which authentic love and sexuality find their true meaning, is to virtually undermine the entire moral order.
The battle to preserve the roots of mankind is perhaps the greatest challenge our world has faced since its origins. Do not be afraid to proclaim the truth with love, especially about marriage according to God’s plans. In the words of St. Catherine of Siena, ‘proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.’ —Cardinal Robert Sarah at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, May 17th, 2016, LifeSiteNews
Only a man and woman are complementary to one another, biologically and otherwise. Only a man and a woman can form a marriage. Only a man and a woman are fecund. Only a man and a woman can naturally produce unique offspring that continues the cycle of life. Hence, Jesus does not hesitate to say that marriage will not be for everyone.
Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it. (Today’s Gospel)
Indeed, I have dialogued with several Catholic men and women who, struggling with same-sex attraction, have therefore “renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.” They have chosen to obey Christ’s word and respect the natural moral law established by the Creator. In so doing, these men and women are heroic witnesses, sometimes more so than married couples, because their lives and choices courageously point to the transcendent. They reflect a “Kingdom perspective” cf. Keeping One’s Eyes on the Kingdom that recognizes that even the great good of marriage, family, sex, etc. are still only temporal expressions of the order of charity that will give way to an eternal order.
However, as we see, God’s temporal order is being rejected more vociferously by the day resulting in more and more bizarre concessions and laws to accommodate intrinsically disordered desires. And this is no surprise. For once the moral order has been turned upside down, there is no longer any kind of restrainer holding back lawlessness other than the drifting whims of politicians and judges. cf. Removing the Restrainer Thus, the “final battle” of this era is coming to a head.
In a spirit of gentleness and patience, we need to continue to preach and safeguard these truths, trusting that the battle is always the Lord’s.
God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD (Today’s Psalm)
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