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By Brother André Marie, M.I.C.M.
This final talk begins by emphasizing that the Catholic couple must be an heroic example to a world that has lost respect for order: in society, individually, or in family life and conjugal fidelity. With the rejection of the social Kingship of Christ, Christendom has lost its corporate identity with its Redeemer. Married couples will receive no support, quite the contrary, from a society that has become totally secular; they must do it alone by the grace of the sacrament they have given each other and by the graces of Holy Communion and Confession. Faithful to this, the good Catholic family can be a leaven within the Church, doing their part to assist Our Lord in His program, not only for the redemptive restoration of order, but for the more copious abundance of life with a nature elevated to a participation in divine life. After this theological reflection on the “holy” part of holy matrimony as an institution, our speaker dived into the specifics, the challenges, that the newly joined will face after the honeymoon is over. Religious writers, he notes, all stressed the crucial importance of privacy in the beginning of a couple’s married life: “Wherefore a man [a woman] shall leave father and mother.” This does not mean total separation, of course, but infrequent contact is the ideal, especially in the first year. The operative word here is “detachment” — detachment from parents and even from friends, for the sake of the “cleaving” to the espoused. The bulk of this presentation dealt with the following: 1) practical tips for a happy and holy marriage (many taken from the Roman Catechism of Trent); 2) the common mistakes that husbands and wives make with regard to their partner; and 3) the common vices, rooted in selfishness, that should be eradicated in each spouse if they are to grow together in holiness. Brother André ended his talk with much salutary advice for husbands, a good part of which was taken from a chapter on marriage in Father Eugene Boylan’s, This Tremendous Lover: a wife should be treated as the “queen of the home,” “another, better self,” a “partner in living” (not a possession or servant), and as a “best friend.”
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