Summary: True culture embraces the totality of a people’s life. It must also follow the natural moral and physical law.
Thursday of 9th week in course 2015
Joy of the Gospel
I’m pretty sure that the night after I married Carolyn forty-three years and ten months ago, my father-in-law did not go out and dig me a grave. Raguel had warned Tobias–Sarah had gone through seven husbands who never survived the first night. There was a nasty demon who was jealous of her and who killed any unrighteous man who tried to consummate their marriage. But Tobias had an ace up his sleeve–the angel Raphael, his companion. That, and a pious attitude toward marriage that is little known today.
Marriage must first of all be about love, and I don’t mean romantic love. We call marriage a sacrament of service for a reason. It has to do with the matrimonial vow–the covenant we undertake when we enter into the union of one man and one woman. “In good times and bad, in sickness and health, unto death.” I see it in the life of a relative, who developed MS and is confined to a wheelchair, but has still borne five fine children with the help of her husband, who devotes full time to family care. Husband and wife serve each other, give 100% to each other, and to their children and community. We learn, either through faith or experience, that we cannot be happy until we put the other’s happiness ahead of our own. This is the attitude of Jesus, who learned it from God the Father. God loved us weak humans so much that He gave us everything, even to the death of His only begotten Son. And in this season we must also remember that He gives us the Holy Spirit, whose full name is Love, so that we may act as He did, and give, give, give.
The Holy Father continues his reflection on evangelization in this spirit: ‘The salvation which God has wrought, and the Church joyfully proclaims, is for everyone. God has found a way to unite himself to every human being in every age. He has chosen to call them together as a people and not as isolated individuals. No one is saved by himself or herself, individually, or by his or her own efforts. God attracts us by taking into account the complex interweaving of personal relationships entailed in the life of a human community. This people which God has chosen and called is the Church. Jesus did not tell the apostles to form an exclusive and elite group. He said: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). Saint Paul tells us in the people of God, in the Church, “there is neither Jew or Greek... for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). To those who feel far from God and the Church, to all those who are fearful or indifferent, I would like to say this: the Lord, with great respect and love, is also calling you to be a part of his people!
‘Being Church means being God’s people, in accordance with the great plan of his fatherly love. This means that we are to be God’s leaven in the midst of humanity. It means proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope and strengthened on the way. The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.
‘The People of God is incarnate in the peoples of the earth, each of which has its own culture. The concept of culture is valuable for grasping the various expressions of the Christian life present in God’s people. It has to do with the lifestyle of a given society, the specific way in which its members relate to one another, to other creatures and to God. Understood in this way, culture embraces the totality of a people’s life. Each people in the course of its history develops its culture with legitimate autonomy. This is due to the fact that the human person, “by nature stands completely in need of life in society” and always exists in reference to society, finding there a concrete way of relating to reality. The human person is always situated in a culture: “nature and culture are intimately linked”. Grace supposes culture, and God’s gift becomes flesh in the culture of those who receive it.’
Now let me add that if nature and culture are intimately linked, then the development of a true culture has to follow the natural moral and physical laws. Recently I coined the term “culture of capitulation” to describe our American political climate. All somebody has to do is take offense at something the majority believes or does, and the media and politicians roll over and give in. That’s why people are pretending that sexual abuse can be the basis for matrimony. I do not know how the Supreme Court will rule on this issue later this month, but I do know that if they don’t follow the natural law, the battle will have only begun to be fought.