Family

Christian marriage: transforming human love into supernatural love

The author reviews some of the main keys to the vocation to marriage, which are found in the teachings of St. Josemaría Escrivá.

Rafael de Mosteyrín Gordillo-December 26, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes
marriage

Photo credit: Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash

St. Josemaría's outstanding valuation of marriage is already present in St. Paul (1 Tim 4, 3-5), but it is rediscovered and developed in its message, as a path to holiness.

His teachings go beyond the merely speculative sphere. St. Josemaría is above all a pastor and teacher of Christian life. And not only has spoken of the possibility of becoming saints in the married state, but has guided - first personally, and then through others - thousands of people along this path of sanctification. In this sense, he has contributed to the spread, within the Church, of the call to holiness in the married state. For this reason, his teaching undoubtedly constitutes an important contribution to the sanctification of the Church. milestone in the history of spirituality.

As a consequence of the sacrament, husband and wife can transform human love into supernatural love. Marriage is therefore a manifestation and revelation of Christ's love for the Church.

Most Christians are called to sanctify themselves in family life. But, we may ask, what concrete strengths and capacities are found in man and what gifts must he receive for the development of the spiritual life to take place?

The perfection of the Christian life is not a mere external imitation, but seeks identification with Christ. We have tried to present what holiness in family life consists of and what changes in those who seek it.   

St. Josemaría teaches that the foundation for the sanctification of Christian family life is the sense of divine filiation. Freedom, in turn, is a gift for attaining the goal of identification with Christ, which is developed through the practice of the theological and moral virtues.

Divine filiation and freedom are a permanent condition of the subject who wants to grow in his love for God, and is thus disposed to develop the virtues.

The sense of divine filiation, united to the exercise of freedom, is the basis for growth in the virtues that configure the Christian to Christ.

The Christian vocation therefore develops with the grace of God, but also with the theological and moral virtues. The transcendence of the end to which man is called makes it necessary for him to expand the strengths or virtues with which he is endowed.

The theological virtues should inform the whole of family life, which is called to be a school of holiness. Faith illuminates existence. It implies knowing oneself to be situated in a history that God governs and directs. It allows us to overcome the experience of pain and the threat of death, which does not have the last word.

Hope is the virtue that directs the human capacity to desire towards God and, in turn, trusts in divine help, which makes it possible to overcome difficulties and reach the goal. Charity, which makes unlimited love for God possible, is the most important virtue in the Christian spiritual life.

Marital holiness is achieved to the extent that one seeks to grow harmoniously in the moral or human virtues, so that they may be the support of the theological virtues. All the virtues must be manifested in conjugal love and mutual help.

If the Christian develops the virtues in the fulfillment of his family, professional and social duties, and also in the exercise of his own rights, he is on the way to becoming identified with Christ. The ordinary Christian is called to sanctify himself precisely by sanctifying his ordinary life.

Identification with Christ must inform the whole of the realities that determine life through charity, justice, fidelity, loyalty, etc. It is an ideal that necessarily calls for the exercise of the virtues in order to overcome selfishness.

Authentic conjugal love is oriented towards fruitfulness and mutual help. Married life is based on the virtue of chastity, which enables spouses to overcome selfishness and to please God with their love that is clean and always open to life. Care for one's spouse and for one's children is a necessary element of the sanctification of each of the spouses in marriage. St. Josemaría shows the necessary complementarity of the spouses, and the irreplaceable contribution of women to marriage and family life.

St. Josemaría admired the faculty of begetting, with absolute fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church. Each child is a divine blessing and he praises large families when they are the fruit of responsible parenthood.

He warns, on the contrary, that blinding the sources of life brings unfortunate consequences for personal, family and social life.

The Christian materialism -The text, deeply transmitted by St. Josemaría, proves to be a valid starting point for a proper understanding of the richness of Christian marriage, a reality of the natural world. high to supernatural dignity. In marriage the matter of sanctification is conjugal love. The test of the authenticity of this love is that it be open to life.  

The authorRafael de Mosteyrín Gordillo

Priest.

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