True Love Wins

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous,

it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

-1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

 There are so many things that I would like to say and tRainbow Flaghat need to be said. For a day that has been described as an immensely dark day and a day of victory, nothing more should be expected. Many people have expressed their great sorrow; others their great joy. Yesterday, 26 June 2o15, the Supreme Court of the United States declared that “same-sex couples should be able to exercise the right to marry in all states” (CNN). There are indeed many things to be said.

Firstly, no matter what side you find yourself on, it is important to approach dialogue with charity and understanding. Why would we discuss issues without the desire to understand the other? Why would we dialogue without seeking to bring others to gain understanding on our own beliefs? Truth and understanding should be the aim of all dialogue. Without it, dialogue goes nowhere. When we desire for others to know the truth, it helps shape our discussion into something worth taking note of. Charity must serve the soul of our discussion. Desiring the good of the other, and speaking with love and charity, we can formulate a discussion that does not result in two (or more) angered parties, but rather, we may find ourselves with greater understanding of the other, along with becoming more closely bonded as fellow human persons. I’m sure that we all know someone who has a different opinion on this topic than we do. No matter what, we must speak to them with love. We cannot condemn them. We cannot call them bigots. We must give them the respect that they deserve. All humans have inherent dignity. We must show them the respect that comes with that dignity. No, I do not expect to change anyone’s mind’s with this blog post, but I do hope to bring others to an understanding of my belief.

Next, the attitude of Americans toward the government doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. Firstly, people seem to be flip-flopping on their opinion. One minute, they are tearing down police officers, proclaiming “No justice, no peace.” The next minute, they are raving about the great decision of the Supreme Court. It seems like the government is only a good thing when convenient for us. Let’s riot and tear down the institution when they upset me. Let’s praise the government when they make the decisions that align with my beliefs. We must take our government for what it is. If we desire to have a different government, it doesn’t make sense to praise that government we seem to hate for making that decision we like.

Next, I want to discuss this idea of love. In regards to this issue, many people say that “love is love.” That’s both right and wrong. It’s right in saying that the love between a same-sex couple is the same as the love between a heterosexual couple. However, not all loves are the same; not all loves are created equal. The Greeks refer to four different kinds of love: storgephiliaeros, and agape. There are different extents to which we say we love people and things, so it only makes sense for them to be on different levels. Firstly, there is storge, which is a form of affection. It is seen, sometimes, as a familial love – the love amongst family members. It can also be amongst friends, colleagues, and between pets and owners. Next, there is philia, which is brotherly love. “I love my friends.” It can be understood as friendship or affection. Next, there is eros, which is intimate or romantic love. This would be the love one has for a significant other. Lastly, there is agape, which is a selfless love. Agape is seen as the pinnacle of all love, for it is the perfection of all love. All love aims for agape, for it forgets the self entirely for the sake of the other.

Now, in regards to marriage, to say that “love is love” does not really mean anything. Yes, love is obviously a necessary prerequisite for marriage. But only when one understands the end of marriage can that love become fruitful in resulting in a marriage. The union of the two spouses is a necessary element of the marital union. There is a second element that is immensely connected with the definition of marriage, which is something beyond us that we could not just redefine to our own liking – contrary to what many people think. Marriage aims at the procreation of and care for children. In a same-sex union, that is not possible. Yes, they can adopt and raise children that way, but they are unable to bear children between the two of them. Marriage recognizes the immense complementarity between the human biology of man and woman. Independent of each other, it does not make sense. Bring together a man and another man, it doesn’t make sense. Bring together two women, it doesn’t make sense. Marriage recognizes the complementarity and honors it, as the man and the woman come together to express their love for each other “till death do [they] part.” Yes, love is necessary for marriage, but so is that complementarity between man’s biology and woman’s biology.

No one is saying that there cannot be same-sex unions. If you desire to join together to express your love and be recognized by the law, I cannot stop you. However, to call those unions marriages is contrary to the very nature of a marriage. We cannot change the natures of things, whether we like it or not.

Some people bring up divorce against the argument of ‘same-sex marriage’ as a sin against marriage. However, ‘same-sex marriage’ and divorce are both contrary to the nature of marriage. We have been fighting against divorce for decades, centuries, millennia! Jesus Himself expressed divorce as something allowed for the hard-hearted (Matthew 19:1-12). Just because we do not want same-sex marriage does not mean that we have stopped fighting against divorce. We desire the sanctity of marriage to be upheld. Theology of the Body has remained something very important to the Church. Therefore, while we fight against divorce, we also take up the fight to redefine marriage, because we have not the power to redefine it.

I hope that you have grown in understanding of my belief. Here is a video expressing the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality.

“Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift,
which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls,
with whom they make up a sole family – a domestic church.”

-Pope St. John Paul II

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Duc In Altum

Mawwiage…That Bwessed Awwangement

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable
than when two people who see eye to eye
keep house as man and wife,
confounding their enemies
and delighting their friends.”

-Homer

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to be a groomsman in my brother’s wedding. I’ve been to weddings before. I’ve participated in several, including serving some. I’ve had a few cousins get married, but this was the first time I had really been so close to the bride and groom. I can’t say I’m very close to my brother, but I did grow up with him, so I guess you could say I’ve known him all my life. So when I stood at the foot of the sanctuary last Saturday and watched as my brother gave himself in Marriage, and I couldn’t help but be hit by the immense reality of this great sacrament.

To the person who does not really understand Marriage, the wedding ceremony might seem a little odd to them. Here are two people saying that they will be with each other for the rest of their lives. Sometimes they will be crying. Their friends and family are crying. Wait… Is it a happy or sad occasion?? There is nothing sad about giving oneself entirely to another person. On the contrary, those who cry are struck by the beauty of the ceremony.

This man and this woman have been commissioned by the Lord. They are called to give themselves totally, faithfully, fruitfully, and freely to the other and for the sake of the other. They are called to lead their spouse and their children to heaven. This is integral to marriage: it is for the sake of the other. They are called to sacrifice their own wills, their own desires for the other’s sake. The vocation of marriage is supposed to be that icon of the love of Christ and the Church. There is a reason why it is called giving oneself in marriage: Marriage is a pure gift of self.

The all-too-controversial excerpt from Ephesians 5 expresses just that. However, the beginning of that excerpt seems to be skipped over: “Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ” (I. 5:21). That must be understood: both are called to be subordinate to each other. Different but EqualBut, when wives are called to be subordinate to their husbands, they are not called to degrade themselves. Subordination does not offend one’s dignity, but reveals a certain humility. When husbands are called to love their wives as their own bodies, it further reveals this difference in roles. If the husband and the wife had the same roles in marriage, it would be just like having two heads, or two bodies. That doesn’t really work. Just as Christ laid down His life for His spouse, the Church, a husband is called to lay down his life for his spouse. Husband and wife are called to make sacrifices for the other, but in different ways. The sacrament of Marriage reveals how man and woman are truly different, but also equal.

As I said above, marriage consists of man and woman giving completely of themselves for the sake of the other. It is a sacrament of sacrificial love. All people are called to die to themselves everyday. The married couple possesses a more specific calling in this manner: they are called to die to themselves in service of the other. Holy Orders and Marriage are referred to as the Sacraments at the Service of Communion – for the salvation of others. Marriage is ultimately intended for the other’s sake. Love is defined by St. Thomas Aquinas as willing the good of the beloved. By giving oneself to their spouse, husband and wife indeed will the other’s good by seeking to bring them to Heaven.

When it comes toChrist on the Cross marriage, it can be easy to get caught up in the ceremony, the tradition, the ritual, and the idea of love. However, marriage is obviously so much more than that. A man and a woman are joined together in order that they may lead each other to Heaven. Don’t get me wrong: there is merit in ceremony and tradition. However, those are only means to an end: bringing together the two called to Marriage, in order for them to begin their lives together in sacrificial love. A true marriage cannot lack sacrifice. The lover seeks to sacrifice for their beloved without counting the cost.

To my brother and my new sister-in-law, and to all those embarking on the journey of marriage, I pray that your lifelong companionship may be filled with love and sacrifice, that you may truly be each other’s guides to the Heavenly Kingdom.

“Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing I am doing your will.”

-‘Prayer for Generosity,’ St. Ignatius of Loyola

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