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FOR BISHOPS

 

 

ADMONISHING THE MARRIED

Those bound by wedlock should learn how to please their consorts without offense to their Maker. Their involvement in the world should not lessen their desire for the things of God.

They may rejoice in present goods, grieve over temporal evils, but ever fix their hopes on everlasting goods, to the end that they are conscious that the things here are transitory and what they hope for is permanent.

The thought of heaven gives strength amidst the evils of this world and prevents deception amidst the good things of this life. . .Do not love this world constantly because the world itself is not constant. You cannot put your love permanently in something that passes away.

If you think of what others have to endure for you, it will be easy to endure others' faults.

The married must be reminded that they are united in wedlock for the purpose of procreation and when they abandon themselves to immoderate intercourse, they transfer the occasion of procreation to the service of pleasure. Though this is still within the bounds of wedlock, it exceeds its rights.

Wherefore, it is necessary that they should efface by frequent prayer what they befoul in the fair form of intercourse by the admixture of pleasure.

Marriage is a prescription not for the spiritually healthy but for the weak. And so, the pleasures within wedlock is a concession and not a command. And, like all forms of indulgence, it is a sin but easily forgivable, if you know how. This sin is not in what is done lawfully but in the lack of control in doing it.

This truth is well expressed in the case of Lot when he fled from burning Sodom as if fleeing the burning fires of the flesh. He went up the mountain symbolizing the performance of the marriage act only for the procreation of children and never to indulge in fleshly pleasures.

Most married couples are unlike Lot. A handful abandon burning Sodom. But hardly do any climb the mountain. The handful stay in a little village, in between Sodom and the mountain, called Segor... which the angel said is a place where conjugal love is by no means condemned.

St. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care: Part III, Ch. 27

 

 

 

 


(11-23-02)

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