1. To provide a clear understanding of Marriage as a Vocation as taught by the Catholic Church.
2. To allow students to reflect on the influences in their lives of their understanding of Marriage and articulate what the vocation of Marriage means to them.
3. To help students in their discernment of vocation
Opening Prayer: Distribute opening prayer to students and prayer together:
LIKE THE EUCHARIST, marriage is the giving and receiving of flesh and blood for the life of the world, a literal dying of self so that others may live abundantly. LIKE BAPTISM, it is a birth into a greater communion, a literal bestowal and revelation of life. LIKE CONFIRMATION, it is a gradual growth into mutual responsibility, a confirmation of one another's being body, soul, and spirit. LIKE RECONCILIATION, marriage is a daily practice and the school of forgiveness par excellence. LIKE PRIESTHOOD, marriage becomes a ministry of counsel and grace to another. LIKE AN ANOINTING, as of the sick, it is a repeated giving and receiving of healing touch. MARRIAGE - here human flesh experiences the wonder of divine love. Here mutual rest becomes Sabbath refreshment, conversation an entrance into the life of the Word, and one another's company a presentiment of the life of the Trinity. - Patrick Jordan, From CHURCH magazine 2001. National Pastoral Life Center https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-Life-Office-Diocese-of-Orlando/212259232203313
Do Review with Review Activity Sheet - Marriage Word Scramble
Part I: God's plan for Intimacy between couples, emphasis on Vows
a. This covenant is the Agape aspect of love and reinforces that Marriage is a community and we as Catholics believe that marriage is a covenant which is lifelong and life giving.
i. Do you know that NFP is a way of living the vocation of marriage? (use USCCB's Married Love and the Gift of Life)
b. Entering this covenant you must be free to marry and three vows are given
i. Fidelity—loyalty, friendship.
ii. Permanence—Take, divorce, off the table! Commitment to the commitment is stronger than our commitment to one another. Sometimes when things are tough you can only hold on to the commitment.
iii. Open to new life—for some this means children. For all this means an attentiveness to the needs of your family AND the community.
Reminder to point out that we are speaking always of healthy marriages, in cases of abuse the Church strongly recommends that the couple separate while the abuser get treatment and counseling for the domestic violent behavior and the abusee and children(if applicable) gets help through counseling for the abuse suffered.
a. Abusive relationships, which could lead to violence, are about power and control; the relationship is unequal in that one partner controls the other; exploitation takes place. Conditional love
b. In healthy relationships, the relationship is based on equality and respect; there is no exploitation of either party. Unconditional love – agape love
Part II: Let's look as Vocation:
There are three vocations which we live
1. Vocation of a Christian
2. Vocation of Family Life
3. Vocation in Life, Married, Clergy, Religious Life or Consecrated singles
If we look at it in terms of vocation, there is not one way of being married, no one way of being a religious, minister, priest, no one way of living the single life. Nor is there one way of acting for the common good.
- The living out of the marriage takes place within the whole Body of Christ, which it serves and in which it finds nourishment. (Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, A Pastoral Letter of USCCB)
- For most of those present it means choosing marriage as a vocation but for others it could mean choosing other ways.
- Have students pray "Prayer to Know One's Vocation"
o Lord, my God and my loving Father, you have made me to know you, to love you, to serve you, and thereby to find and to fulfill my deepest longings. I know that you are in all things, and that every path can lead me to you. But of them all, there is one especially by which you want me to come to you. Since I will do what you want of me, I pray you, send your Holy Spirit to me: into my mind, to show me what you want of me; into my heart, to give me the determination to do it, and to do it with all my love, with all my mind, and with all of my strength right to the end. Jesus, I trust in you. Amen
The Vocation of Marriage
- Marriage is a vocation; it is the way couples choose to answer to God's call to holiness. Because many don't understand the significance of this vocation it has come under attack socially, politically and religiously. As we beg the author of marriage to protect it, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that not only do strong marriages bring strong vocations, but the new Evangelization must begin with the family.
- Definition of Marriage as Vocation according to the USCCB
As a vocation, marriage is just as necessary and valuable to the church as other vocations.
- ...the primary vocation is to love, because humanity "is created in the image and likeness of God who is Himself love." (CCC, no. 1604)
- Within this universal vocation to holiness, God calls some men to the priesthood or to the diaconate, other men and women to the consecrated life. For the vast majority of men and women, however, God places this universal vocation to holiness within the specific vocation of marriage.(Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, A Pastoral Letter of USCCB)
Part III: The approach to marriage as a sacrament instituted by God...
- With this understanding of love in its selfless form Agape, I'd like to remind us that we are here for the preparation of your sacrament of marriage. The church's definition is A sacramental marriage is a covenant entered into by a man and a woman who commit themselves to each other through Christ for a partnership of life and love.
- The Sacrament of Marriage like Holy Orders is a sacrament of Service.
1. This vocation to love, in imitation of God's infinite love, is also a vocation to grow in holiness, for greater participation in God's love necessarily entails a greater participation in God's holiness. (Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, A Pastoral Letter of USCCB)
2. As a vocation or call from God marriage has a public and ecclesial status within the Church. (Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, A Pastoral Letter of USCCB)
3. Use Marriage: United in Love, Strengthened for Service by USCCB, as resource or activity sheet
4. "We believe that every marriage matters, because each comes from the hand of God. As such, the married state is truly a vocation, requiring a constantly renewed commitment and reliance on God's grace to sustain it. Just as priest, deacon and other religious pursue experiences and formation to enrich their vocation, so too much couples find ways to strengthen their marriages and their fidelity." Bishop Emeritus John M. Smith of Diocese of Trenton
5. Read Ephesians 5: 21-30 and elicit from students "How are we called to married love?"
Blue Print to Love from God
- But as members of the Body of Christ, we have been given a blue print in how we are called to love our neighbor, many use this reading in their wedding ceremonies. We will do a prayer practice of Lectio Divina and just listen as I read this reading from St. Paul to the Corinthians
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, have reflection of how love is described in scripture.
o How can love be expressed as a married couple?
o How can that love be expressed as a member of a Family?
o USE ACTIVITY SHEET 2 – Love is...
Elicit from student: Write answers on newsprint
- What does the world say Marriage is?
- How does secular music describe love?
- Now how does sacred music describe love?
- How does TV or movies speak about Marriage?
- How does TV or movies speak about Family Life?
- And what that looks like or should look like?
Do these reflect on the vows spoken by the couples at their ceremony for the Sacrament of Matrimony?
a. three vows given are: Fidelity—loyalty, friendship; Permanence—Commitment to the commitment is stronger than our commitment to one another; Open to new life—for some this means children. For all this means an attentiveness to the needs of your family AND the community.
b. "Marriage has three blessings. The first is children, to be received and raised for God's service. The second is the loyal faithfulness by which each serves the other. The third is the sacrament of matrimony, which signifies the inseparable union of Christ with His Church." St. Thomas Aquinas
c. This covenant is the Agape aspect of love and reinforces that Marriage is a community and we as Catholics believe that marriage is a covenant which is lifelong and life-giving. ***http://youtu.be/TnqOZfG1LyQ (As a tool only check out, Sex, Marriage, & Fairytales by Jefferson Bethke)
d. Growth in Virtues
1. Chastity = expression of temperance, conjugal chastity.
2. Live as gift of self
4. Joyful, self-giving in the familial life
Who modeled the Vocation of Marriage to you? Activity Sheet 3
How has the Vocation of Marriage been modeled to you?
- What does Marriage look like in your family?
- Have there been divorces around you?
- What has that shown you about Marriage?
- How is Marriage spoken about in your family?
How would you describe marriage to someone who has never experienced marriage before?
How does the church see Family in the context of the Vocation of Marriage?
Envision how you would live your Vocation of Marriage. Please be specific.
- Elicit from students specific ways they envision living the vocation of marriage. Write on board/newsprint
End with Prayer in the USCCB Prayer for Marriage: Distribute closing prayer to students and prayer together:
God our Father, we give you thanks for the gift of marriage; the bond of life and love, and the font of the family. The love of husband and wife enriches your Church with children, fills the world with a multitude of spiritual fruitfulness and service, and is the sign of the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, for his Church. The grace of Jesus flowed forth at Cana at the request of the Blessed Mother. May your Son, through the intercession of Mary, pour out upon us a new measure of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as we join with all people of good will to promote and protect the unique beauty of Marriage. May your Holy Spirit enlighten our society to treasure the heroic love of husband and wife, and guide our leaders to sustain and protect the singular place of mothers and fathers in the lives of their children. Father, we ask that our prayers be join to those of the Virgin Mary, that your Word may transform our service, so as to safeguard the incomparable splendor of marriage. We ask all these things through Christ our Lord. Amen. (USCCB) http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers/prayer-defense-of-marriage.cfm