Dear Friends and Benefactors, 01/15/2020
God “made man from the beginning, Made them male and female … For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6). Matrimony has been instituted since the beginning of the world. It was God Himself Who instituted it when He gave Eve to Adam for a companion: “It is not good”, said the Lord, “for man to be alone; let us make him a help like unto himself.” (Genesis 2:18). Adam in receiving Eve, said: ‘This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23-24). And God blessed them and said: “Increase and multiply and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:28).
In these words of Holy Scripture, we see not only the institution of matrimony, but also the two principal reasons for which it has been established, namely, to procure for God, in the propagation of mankind, a multitude of worshipers who, having honored and served Him upon earth, will glorify Him eternally in Heaven; secondly, to establish a mutual help between the man and the woman.
Furthermore, we see in these words of Holy Scripture, the nature and essence of matrimony, namely, the union of one man and one woman “and they shall be two in one flesh”. It is the most intimate union that nature can form. Moreover, it is the most indissoluble union, because as Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches, it can be broken only by death: “What, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6). Before the coming of Our Saviour, matrimony was already indissoluble, and God permitted divorce to the Jews only because of their hard-heartedness. Our Lord Jesus Christ restored matrimony to its primitive purity and raised it to the dignity of a sacrament. The Holy Roman Catholic Church, faithful depository and interpreter of the teachings of Christ, has always proclaimed the indissolubility of matrimony and condemned divorce; the True Church has always declared that the conjugal tie can be broken only by death.
Before we explain how one should prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage, we will mention a few words concerning the Marriage of Saint Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is traditionally commemorated on January 23rd. Holy Scripture says that Archangel Saint Gabriel was sent to “a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph.” (Luke 1:27). Mary was an espoused Virgin, that is, a wedded Virgin when she conceived Jesus, and not what the modernists say that she was only engaged, not yet married, at the time of the Incarnation. Furthermore, Saint Thomas Aquinas explains in the Summa Theologica that the espousals of Mary and Joseph constituted a true marriage. The essence of a marriage is an inseparable union of souls, even if this union is never brought to carnal use or fruitfulness. Holy Scripture calls Saint Joseph the husband of Mary, and calls Mary the wife of Joseph (Matthew 1:19,20). Therefore, Saint Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary were truly man and wife; they were truly married.
How does one prepare for this holy state, and what are the dispositions one must bring to the Sacrament of Matrimony. According to the renowned ‘Catechism of Rodez’ written over a century ago, there are three important dispositions: vocation to marriage, a pure and upright intention, and the state of grace. Let us explain each one of these in some detail.
I. Vocation to the Married State – We are not all called to the same kind of life; some are destined for marriage and others for celibacy; some to live in the world and others in the cloister. There are different manners of life, but all lead to Heaven. Each one should follow that course which God has marked out for him, and adopt the state to which he is destined, otherwise he would expose himself to be unfortunate, not only in this world, through the uneasiness and suffering which he would undergo in a vocation which was not his own, but, also, in the next world, on account of the more numerous dangers to which he would find himself exposed, and the particular helps of grace, which would be wanting to him.
It is therefore, supremely important that each one should know his vocation. But how can we know our vocation? In the first place, we must consult God, because it is He and He alone Who gives our vocation. It is necessary, therefore, to pray, and to pray fervently; then to examine what is our attraction, that is, to what state we feel ourselves most inclined, and what our physical and moral qualities are; for God never calls a person to a state the duties of which he cannot fulfill.
After a young man has assured himself that he is called to the married state, all is not over; he must also seek to know who the person is whom God has destined for him; for, from the moment God calls you to the married state, He has chosen for you your companion; and it is with this one and with no other that you must unite yourself. If in this you do the will of God, your marriage will be well matched, pure, and happy, and you will save yourself more easily. If, on the contrary, you follow mere passion and inclination, you are preparing trials and dangers for the future. Hence, if, after having consulted God, you decide to marry, pray to the Lord to make known to you the one who is to be your companion, as Eliezer did, when he sought a wife for his master: “Lord, enlighten me and show me Thyself her whom Thou hast destined for Isaac, Thy servant.” You should also consult your confessor, in order that he may give you the proper advice, and caution you against the temptations and dangers to which you might be exposed. Finally, you should consult your parents, who are for you the representatives of God; and in such an important affair you should, as a rule, act only with their advice. Nature, religion, and even human laws, impose this as a duty upon you, but it is especially your own interest which requires this. For your parents love you, and desire your happiness, and on account of their experience and the calmness of their reasoning, they see better than you do what is good for you, since you are inclined to be led in such matters by infatuation and passion, rather than by reason.
This is what you must do to know the state to which you are called. But how many young persons there are who, instead of consulting religion and experience, listen only to the voice of their passions and their momentary tastes! How many do we not see who, far from consulting, do not even wish to be advised, and who refuse to listen to observations, or even remonstrances, of persons to whom they owe obedience and respect. “I shall marry him or her in spite of you,” we hear young persons say to their parents who try to dissuade them from an improper marriage, and the parents, in order to avoid the gravest inconvenience, end by giving their consent. And what often results? Since they are marriages which God does not bless, they are most often unhappy marriages, and bring into the family nothing but divisions, hatreds, discords, and sometimes infidelity and misery. Of course, parents ought to be prudent and reasonable, and never force the will of their children, or be opposed to their legitimate inclinations; but children, on their part, ought to show submission and regard to the wishes of their parents, and listen to their good advices as coming from God Himself.
And now, parents and children, do you wish to know, in a few words, the qualities which should guide you in your choice? They are virtue and the similarity of morals.
Young man, is your intended one gentle and modest? Is she submissive to her parents; has she a taste for work, for prayer, for the frequentation of the sacraments? If so, marry her without fear; she has qualities which will insure your happiness. But, on the contrary, if she is vain and arrogant, and negligent in her religious duties, beware of marrying her; you would bring a viper into your family circle.
Young woman, is your intended industrious and sober? Does he go regularly to the sacraments? If so marry him, and be without fear. But, on the contrary, is he dissipated and idle, does he neglect the sacraments, does he frequent bad company, does he pass a great part of his time in the saloons? Ah! then, be on your guard. If you should marry him, you would be the most unhappy of wives. No, do not marry him, even if he promises to correct himself, for such promises are always made but seldom kept.
II. The second disposition which one must bring to marriage is a pure and holy intention. What ends should one propose to himself in entering the married state? None but those which God Himself has proposed in instituting it.
The first end which you should have in view is to do the will of God Who calls you to this state.
The second is to have children, not only that they may be heirs of your name and the support in your old age, but, also, to render them worthy to possess and glorify God in Heaven.
The third is to withdraw yourselves from the occasions of sin, and from the dangers of the flesh and the devil.
Finally, the fourth is to support each other in the troubles of life, to assist each other in your work; in one word, to be a mutual help in the needs of body and soul.
Such are the objects of Sacrament of Marriage. The Archangel Raphael thus instructed the young Tobias: “Thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust.” (Tobias 6:22).
Therefore, it is not carnal or interested motives that one must enter the marriage state. The first seven husbands whom Sara had married successively had come with brutal and sensual views, and the devil killed them on the very first night of their nuptials. God always condemns and curses similar alliances. As regards the temporal goods or exterior accomplishments of the person you have in view, it must never be the principal motive that determines that determines you; you would find bitter deceptions. Undoubtedly, religion does not condemn the seeking of temporal advantages; but what it blames, what it severely disapproves, is that in such an important affair as marriage, a person should permit himself to be guided and directed by such unworthy motives. And, nevertheless, how many young men and women there are who look on the money side of marriage! “How much is she worth?” “Oh, I can have another much richer than she is.” This is mere bargaining. Marriage seems to have become for many a regular traffic, an affair of commerce. But is it thus that one should treat such a grave and delicate affair, an affair which will influence a whole life? Undoubtedly, one may assure himself of the financial part of the affair; this may often be necessary and nobody can find fault with it. But what is very blamable is the covetousness, and stupidity of those who see in a proposal of marriage only an affair of money. Let us quote a very popular proverb, and one full of sense: “A wife without money is better than money without a wife.” An industrious, orderly, and economical wife, filled with the fear of God, will easily cause a house to prosper, if she is seconded by her husband; while the best families are sometimes ruined by the carelessness, idleness, extravagance, and levity of women.
Bring to marriage pure and holy intentions. Follow the example of young Tobias, who prayed: “Lord, Thou seest the intentions of my heart. When I take this maiden to be my wife, it is only to sanctify myself with her, and to raise in Thy fear the children which Thou mayest give to us, in order that they may bless Thy Most Holy Name for all eternity.”
III. The third and last disposition for the Sacrament of Matrimony is the state of grace. Matrimony is a sacrament and a sacrament of the living. One would, therefore, commit a sacrilege if he were to receive it in the state of mortal sin. And not only would he commit a sacrilege, but he would also deprive himself of the special graces that are attached to this sacrament, at least as long as he should remain in mortal sin. This is why the Church prescribes that those about to be married should go to Confession before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony.
But what should this Confession be? Is it sufficient, for example, to simply present oneself to the priest, as some persons seem to understand this precept? Not at all. The Confession ought to be made with all the sentiments of contrition and a firm purpose of amendment. What are we to think of those who, in spite of all the entreaties of the priest, limit themselves to appearing once or twice in the confessional, and then going off, without absolution, and receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony? They add a new mortal sin to all those which they have already committed, and, instead of drawing down the blessings of Heaven on the state which they embrace, they incur the anger of God. How can they expect to be happy after such a bad beginning?
In order to dispose oneself well for the Sacrament of Marriage, one must make a sincere and sacramental Confession, and a Confession which puts one again in the state of grace with God Whom he has offended. But this Confession must not be put off to the last day. It should be made at least a few weeks beforehand, especially when one finds himself caught in bad habits, in order that a confessor may have time to instruct the penitent, and subject him to the necessary trials. It is, also, a very good recommendation to make a general Confession. To wait until the last moment is to expose oneself to do nothing good and solid. And, nevertheless, how many young people nowadays are careless in this regard!
If Confession is necessary to dispose one for marriage, a change of life, the correction of bad habits, the flight of the occasions of sin are much more necessary. It is a deplorable thing to see those long visits, those secret meetings, which unfortunately is the usual behavior preceding the nuptial blessing. Must these courtships take place in hidden and suspicious places, or accompanied with indecent familiarities and criminal liberties. Do they forget that they are in the presence of God Who sees them and Who will one day judge both of them? Is this a proper preparation for the holy state one intends to embrace? Let the couple entering a courtship remember that all foreplay behavior are mortal sins. God has reserved foreplay behavior only for the validly married couple preceding the sacred act of union. In addition, the length of the courtship should not be too lengthy. Between 6 months and one year should be sufficient time to discern whether this is the right person for a Catholic marriage. Furthermore, let the couple entering a courtship be careful to meet only in the presence of their parents, or of some person worthy of respect (e.g. chaperone). In addition, the couple should always be careful to hold their meetings according to the Catholic rules of modesty and decency.
Moreover, we should add the following admonitions concerning the attacks on the Sacrament of Matrimony by the world and by the modernists in the Novus Ordo Church. The world promotes divorce and adultery. On the other hand, traditional Catholic spouses believe in true fidelity until death do them part. Traditional Catholics believe that the primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children; its secondary end is mutual help and the allaying of concupiscence (1917 Code of Canon Law). On the other hand, the modernists who promote Vatican II and the 1983 Code of Canon Law teach that the primary purpose of marriage is the uniting of husband and wife, and then the secondary purpose of marriage is from this uniting, if it is God’s will, that a child would come forth, but not necessarily. Novus Ordo Catholics use contraceptives (an intrinsic evil) and NFP (a novelty not from God) to control the size of their family. On the other hand, traditional Catholic spouses allow God to control the number of children they have, and strive for a large family.
Such are the dispositions one must bring to the Sacrament of Matrimony: a vocation, a pure and holy intention, and the state of grace.
Married persons, were these your dispositions? Does your conscience reproach you with anything in this regard? If, unfortunately, you have entered the marriage state with evil intentions, with a conscience soiled with mortal sin, and if you have not yet done penance, do not remain any longer in this deplorable state, but hasten to throw yourselves at the feet of some charitable and enlightened confessor who will tell you what you have to do in order to obtain your reconciliation with God, and to revive in you the grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony which you have already received.
As to you, young Catholic men and women, if you believe yourselves called to the married state, reflect well before undertaking anything; pray long and seriously before entering that holy state, and enter it only with good and holy views. Finally, bring that purity of heart, and that nuptial garment, the state of grace, which God requires of you. Thus, you shall merit that Our Lord Jesus Christ will assist at your nuptials, as He formerly assisted at those of Cana; that the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob will spread over you His abundant blessings, during your short pilgrimage upon earth, and that He will call you to assist at the nuptials of the Lamb, for all eternity!
AVE MARIA !
Father Joseph Poisson
P.S. If you would like to be added to our subscription list, please reply to the general email below with your phone number, contact information, and what major city you are near as well.
Fr. Pfeiffer Sermon “Sermon Feast Of The Holy Family”
Consecration of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to Immaculate Heart of Mary