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제목 On the Immaculate Conception and Marriage(2017-12-08)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2017-12-08


On the Immaculate Conception and Marriage(2017-12-09)

My dear brethren,


The word Immaculate, without blemish is used in the Old Testament more than 60 times, but only 9 times in the New Testament. Often times in the Old Testament, it is used as a requirement for the victim of the sacrifice: the lamb must be immaculate, the animal offered to God must be immaculate. It is used in the very same sense twice in the New Testament. St Paul says: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted, immaculate, unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14). And St Peter says: “you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb immaculate and undefiled,”(1 Pet. 1:18-19).

However, it is also used twice in the New Testament in relation with marriage. To the Ephesians, in the very epistle used for the marriage Mass, St Paul says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: that he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish – Immaculate!” (Eph. 5:25-27) In the marriage between Christ and the Church, not only is our Lord Jesus Christ the “Immaculate Lamb”, but He offered Himself so that His Bride the Church also may be wholly cleansed and so become Immaculate.

Our Lady received the gift of being Immaculate at the beginning of her life, in her very conception. The Church will have this gift perfectly at the end. Through Baptism, which is “the laver of water in the word of life”, the faithful are already cleansed from the state of sin, but they are not yet perfect and often unfortunately many people fall back into sin, which they have to cleanse again in the Sacrament of penance. Even the best, such as St Thérèse who never fell into mortal sin, still have some venial sins. But at the end, the cleansing will be total, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: the Saints will have passed through the cleansing furnace of tribulation on earth or Purgatory after, and will be like resplendent gold purified by the fire.

The second time is a word of St Paul to the Hebrews: “Let marriage be honourable in all, and the bed undefiled, immaculate. For fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4), and here, “to judge” means to condemn, as in many passages of the Scriptures. So, it is clear that there is need of purity, of chastity in the marriage.

Indeed, one of the goods of the marriage is the practice of the virtue of chastity, of purity. Our modern world has often lost sight of the very purpose of the act of marriage: the transmission of life. And transmitting life, the parents work with God in a very profound way. Indeed, it is evidently not the parents who decide that the child will have two eyes, two hands, two feet, etc. It is God who so designed it. God is the Author of life; parents do not make life, they only transmit something that they have received; they received it through their parents, but these parents themselves also were mere channel, not source: ultimately, they received it from God, who alone is the Author of life.

Because in the very act of marriage, parents are working with God, that act ought to be as God designed it. And God designed it for the good of the child: every child needs his father and mother, and not for a short while, but for many years to come! Hence God designed that life should be transmitted within the life-long faithful union of one man and one woman, which is marriage. In the marriage, the act of marriage is good, is sacred, is holy.

However, outside the marriage, this act is misplaced, and gravely wrong, because it deprives the child from his legitimate parents: and this leads to further perversion, often refusing the child completely first using contraception and often resorting to abortion. The man and the woman refuse to act with God: to oppose God in such matters so intimately connected with life is grievous.

Even in the marriage there is need of a certain temperance, called chastity. There are times in which the parents should practice abstinence of it, such as in case of sickness, or right before or after birth, etc. And parents should not think that marriage is the permission to do anything and everything: there are certain things which denature the act of marriage, such as sodomy, which are always forbidden even in marriage; more commonly contraception (and evidently abortion) are grave sins against the very purpose for which God so designed this act.

At the root of all these sins against purity is the fact that many people only search in the act of marriage for self-satisfaction and pleasures. To disconnect it from the purpose for which God has establish it leads to so many disorders and evil. And the modern world has made the situation worse by the proliferation of pornography through internet.

What to do? Remember the words of St Paul: “Let marriage be honourable in all, and the bed undefiled, immaculate. For fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). The marriage bed is immaculate when marriage is prepared with purity and virginity, continued with perfect fidelity after the ceremony of marriage. And here no one can be of greater help than our Lady, who is the model of an immaculate life.

Such immaculate life can be summed up very simply: sin is out of question! Never start with sin! Never start in the way of sin: avoid not only the ultimate sin, but even the beginning. At Baptism, we renounced Satan, his works (sin) and his allurements (the occasions of sin). Every day we must renew this renouncing to Satan, to all sins and occasions of sin; every day we must renew our choice for God, our “fiat” with Mary: “be it done to me according to thy word” (Lk. 1:38).

Many people seem to think that they can offend God with impunity. This is simply not true. Every sin causes such damage within ourselves that we are going to suffer because of it, one way or another! And that damage, we caused it. We can’t blame God for it. Some think that they can just go to confession and everything is fine; not so, there is still need to make reparation for it! And that is not easy! It is much better to avoid sin completely like our Lady did. She is completely immaculate: there is not the least of such damage in her soul! Hence her life was completely filled with the light and love of God, with no obstacle. She did have to suffer at the foot the Cross, like our Lord who chose to be the Victim of the Cross, but such suffering is so full with the love of God that it becomes a jewel.

One must avoid sin completely within the marriage by perfect fidelity. One must avoid sin even before the marriage by virginity. Virginity as a preparation for a faithful marriage is beautiful. But there is even more beautiful virginity. St Thomas Aquinas teaches that there are three levels of chastity: the chastity of the married people, which consists in fidelity in the marriage; the second level is the chastity of widowed persons, and the third is the chastity of consecrated virgins. These “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Apoc. 14:4). They search for that higher love at the level of the marriage of Christ and His Church: they are “brides of Christ”.

My dear brethren, let us pray to the Immaculate Virgin for all the married couples, that they may keep their marriage undefiled, and practice that first level of chastity imitating our Lady, i.e. without compromise with sin. Let us pray for the youth, that they may prepare such good and faithful marriage with purity and virginity. And let us pray for vocations, that would search for the higher love and higher marriage with Christ, which will have no end in Heaven! Amen.

Father François Laisney