I am reading the Pastoral Letter of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled, Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan. I would recommend this to all married couples and indeed to all members of the Church.
There is one section I would like to quote for your reflection. It is taken from Part One, Chapter Two of the letter under the heading, “Male-Female C0mplementarity is Essential to Marriage.”
“Marriage,…. is a unique communion of persons. In their intimate union as male and female, the spouses are called to exist for each other. Just as Genesis describes Eve as a helper for Adam, we can see that in marriage, a husband and wife are meant to help each other through self-giving. “In the ‘unity of the two,’ man and woman are called from the beginning not only to exist ‘side by side’ or ‘together,’ but they are also called to exist mutually ‘one for the other.’“
“This communion of persons has the potential to bring forth human life and thus to produce the family, which is itself another kind of communion of persons and which is the origin and foundation of society. It is precisely this difference between man and woman that makes possible this unique communion of persons, the unique partnership of life and love that is marriage. A man and woman united in marriage as husband and wife serve as a symbol of both life and love in a way that no other relationship of human persons can.”
There is the heart of marital spirituality….. to mutually exist one for the other. Our very existence becomes totally other-centered, for the good of our spouse, and in doing so, have that compete gift of self be transformed into new life.
Pope Paul VI was prophetic in Humanae Vitae, when he reaffirmed the Church’s teaching that the unitive end (self-giving without reserve) must never be separated from the procreative end (open to new life) of marriage.
O how far so many of we married folk have to go in living this sacrament to the full!