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VANITY: Searching for sainthood through marriage.
VANITY ^ | 4/5/04 | VANITY

Posted on 04/05/2004 11:55:10 AM PDT by dangus

I keep hearing about how since Vatican II, the persepctive of the Catholic Church has changed: it no longer considers marriage an inferior vocation to the religious life. I'd like to think so, because I asked God if he wanted me to be a priest, and I got a very clear, "No!" Several, in fact. As in: "OK, God, right, got the message, really!" Yet, I believe we are all called to sainthood.

The issue is this: Most saints were priests, sisters or brothers. There's a few married saints I can think of, who were married, and became saints in spite of their marriage. I can find very few saints who achieved sainthood through their marriage vocation, although I think the Martins of Lisieux either are saints, or are being considered. Can anyone name some (post-biblical) saints who became saints through their vocation to the married life?

Second question is even wierder:

If marriage is a sacrament, then is Christian sex supposed to be a form of worship? I'm dead serious when I note that during sex is when some of the most hardened atheists call out for God. (No, THAT'S profanity, not worship, but it shows that the *instinct* IS there.)


TOPICS: Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; holyorders; marriage; priesthood; sexuality; worship
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1 posted on 04/05/2004 11:55:11 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
Married Saints
2 posted on 04/05/2004 11:58:58 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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3 posted on 04/05/2004 12:01:02 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Freepers post from sun to sun, but a fundraiser bot's work is never done.)
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To: sinkspur; kosta50; ultima ratio; NYer; GirlShortstop; BlackElk; Tantumergo; MarMema; ...
Help me out, everyone, please...
Ping the Catholics! Ping the Orthodox! I need answers and a variety of perspectives!
4 posted on 04/05/2004 12:05:00 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
Here's a married couple who have been recently beatified. Frome the Vatican website: BEATIFICATION OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD LUIGI BELTRAME QUATTROCCHI AND MARIA CORSINI, MARRIED COUPLE
5 posted on 04/05/2004 12:06:40 PM PDT by TotusTuus
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To: dangus
I'm dead serious when I note that during sex is when some of the most hardened atheists call out for God.

The thing I love about Catholics is that you make observations like this.

6 posted on 04/05/2004 12:18:17 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage (http://calvinist-libertarians.blogspot.com/)
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To: A.J.Armitage
O, please A.J., don't generalize from me to the entire Catholic Church!
7 posted on 04/05/2004 12:20:12 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
One of the great saints:

St. Frances of Rome
(Bussa di Leoni.)

One of the greatest mystics of the fifteenth century; born at Rome, of a noble family, in 1384; died there, 9 March, 1440. Her youthful desire was to enter religion, but at her father's wish she married, at the age of twelve, Lorenzo de' Ponziani. Among her children we know of Battista, who carried on the family name, Evangelista, a child of great gifts (d. 1411), and Ages (d. 1413). Frances was remarkable for her charity to the poor, and her zeal for souls. She won away many Roman ladies from a life of frivolity, and united them in an association of oblates attached to the White Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria Nuova; later they became the Benedictine Oblate Congregation of Tor di Specchi (25 March, 1433) which was approved by Eugene IV (4 July, 1433). Its members led the life of religious, but without the strict cloister or formal vows, and gave themselves up to prayer and good works. With her husband's consent Frances practiced continency, and advanced in a life of contemplation. Her visions often assumed the form of drama enacted for her by heavenly personages. She had the gift of miracles and ecstasy, as well as the bodily vision of her guardian angel, had revelations concerning purgatory and hell, and foretold the ending of the Western Schism. She could read the secrets of consciences and detect plots of diabolical origin. She was remarkable for her humility and detachment, her obedience and patience, exemplified on the occasion of her husband's banishment, the captivity of Battista, her sons' death, and the loss of all her property.

On the death of husband (1436) she retired among her oblates at Tor di Specchi, seeking admission for charity's sake, and was made superior. On the occasion of a visit to her son, she fell ill and died on the day she had foretold. Her canonization was preceded by three processes (1440, 1443, 1451) and Paul V declared her a saint on 9 May, 1608, assigning 9 March as her feast day. Long before that, however, the faithful were wont to venerate her body in the church of Santa Maria Nuova in the Roman Forum, now known as the church of Santa Francesca Romana.

8 posted on 04/05/2004 12:22:37 PM PDT by siunevada
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To: dangus
Second question:

I'll point you to the Catechism. Maybe it will offer you some insight but I doubt it will answer the question in the way you are seeking.

http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt3art7.htm


Just out of curiosity, is that a personal observation about atheists' exclamations?
9 posted on 04/05/2004 12:33:49 PM PDT by siunevada
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To: dangus
I wasn't, it's based on what I've seen other Catholics (contemporary and in the past) say. And it's a sincere compliment.
10 posted on 04/05/2004 12:34:51 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage (http://calvinist-libertarians.blogspot.com/)
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To: siunevada
"Now, let me be clear on this point: I did not have sex with that atheist."
11 posted on 04/05/2004 12:39:10 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
The issue is this: Most saints were priests, sisters or brothers.

I think it would be better to say canonized saints. I'm sure there are many, many saints in heaven who were married in life on earth and achieved holiness through their marriages. Their feast day would be celebrated Nov. 1st, All Saints Day.

There's a few married saints I can think of, who were married, and became saints in spite of their marriage.

Now that's funny. The above Beati I posted could be a start for you.

All people are called to holiness. Our Lord specifically raised the dignity of marriage to the supernatural order as a sacrament in his Church. Indeed, Christ's marriage to us, His Church, is THE marriage that all others are meant to participate in and symbolize.

If you are married, then your vocation has a name, and that name is the name of your spouse. It is precisely in marriage that the proper dignity of the sexual union of spouses as a function of love occurs. Anything less is, well, a sin. Yes, the conjugal act is meant to be holy, and is meant to be integrated in the lives of spouses to lead to more life and love (i.e. a family), extending the fecundity of God's Life and Love.

12 posted on 04/05/2004 12:41:00 PM PDT by TotusTuus
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To: A.J.Armitage
Well, Thanks for the compliment. What I meant is that I know it's a very odd observation, and I would hate to defend any assertion implicit in it.
13 posted on 04/05/2004 12:41:25 PM PDT by dangus
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To: TotusTuus
>> Now that's funny. <<

I did once tell my friend's fiancee that she was certain to attain sainthood :). No, what I meant by that: For instance, a woman who was forced into marriage, her husband died, and she lived like a nun is not the sort of example I am looking for. I'm looking for people who willingly chose procreation as a saintly calling.
14 posted on 04/05/2004 12:49:55 PM PDT by dangus
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To: siunevada
I guess she wouldn't be as saintly if she and her husband had raised their brood and lovingly coached a bunch of kids playing sports and invited them over for hot cocoa.

That's the kind of sanctity I see in married people, extending their love beyond their own family interests, and are a real leaven in society.

I drove past a catholic schoolyard today and saw the kids happily playing and thought they are the future. Ordinary kids who will grow up to raise ordinary families and do ordinary things and not be a drag on society.

Margery of Kemp is credited with writing the first autobiography. She talked her husband into foregoing marital relations and used his money and resources to make pilgrimages, no doubt influenced by tales of sanctity. I got the feeling that she merely wanted to escape from the monotony of her life as it was.

15 posted on 04/05/2004 12:57:35 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: dangus
I'm looking for people who willingly chose procreation as a saintly calling.

I looked in vain for examples like that. I failed to find any. Maybe the account I read was not true, but St. Therese's parents didn't consummate their marriage until they were urged to do so by a priest. They had felt called to what they considered the higher life before they married, and it was almost as if that was second best.

I guess fixing watches as honest work isn't as saintly as administering the sacraments and ecstasies and visions.

As a child, Therese happily played in a little garden at their home with her brothers and sisters. That's my best memory of her life before normal adversities came along and took away her mother and a sibling, I think.

I can't think of anything more saintly in this world than providing a happy, safe environment for children, the future, along with moral instruction that is not too severe.

16 posted on 04/05/2004 1:06:42 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Aliska
The doctrine of the Catholic faith, as newly emphasized since Vatican II, as I understand it, agrees with you. But the example given does seem to short-shrift such saintliness. Plus, I look at the vocations of the Church. The priest offers the body and blood of Christ. That is an amazing, shocking assertion which is humanly impossible to accept. If marriage is an equal vocation, then, there must be an equally mysterious occurrence. It would seem to me to be when a spouse offers his/her own body to allow the creation of a soul. Even then, the Christian must place the desire for God above the desire for his spouse.

It's not like there isn't a similar temptation for priests. How many priests succeed in making their homilies not about their own personal issues, but about expounding on the scripture? How many substitute personal style for the rubrics; is not their lust for power an equal temptaion to sexual lust? Yet doesn't their joy come from abandonning their own desire and experiencing God working through them?
17 posted on 04/05/2004 1:09:50 PM PDT by dangus
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To: siunevada; dangus
Just out of curiosity, is that a personal observation about atheists' exclamations?

rofl.. I wondered the same thing ;-)

dangus, I have thoughts on your post. Give me a bit to formulate them coherently.

18 posted on 04/05/2004 1:18:37 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: Aliska
The story about the Martins of Lisieux is true. They each thought they were called to celibacy; a priest assured them that marital love was blessed. Not from lust, but from a willingness to obey God (as opposed to a lustful spouse), they did consummate their marriages. A lot. They had nine children.

I count theirs as a story of a willing vocation to procreation; it is not unusual for a person to be called to a vocation by another, and their have been people who have lived celibate lives in spite of their marriage. (Their was a saintly empress of Austria, if I recall correctly, who did this.)
19 posted on 04/05/2004 1:18:39 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
Yet doesn't their joy come from abandonning their own desire and experiencing God working through them?

I don't see much joy in their lives now nor in the past. They seem either terribly burdened or were corrupted by the world.

What you have said is true, as well as scriptural, but sometimes I think the western church went overboard with unrealistic models of sanctity, the people bought into it, and here we are.

I don't have all the answers, but every time they propose another founder of some religous order for sainthood, I get angry.

I don't like to put the holiness of the religious life over the holiness of married couples. Sometimes I think married couples are holier because they have to earn their living and are more grounded in reality and achieve sanctity anyway in spite of the hardships. There are, no doubt, millions of them in heaven. We just don't know their names

This is a wicked thought, I'll admit, but promoting sanctity of the religious life over sanctity of marriage is a way of strengthening their grip over the people and keeping them in their place.

20 posted on 04/05/2004 1:22:01 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
0:^D>+

Et tu, Debbie?!
21 posted on 04/05/2004 1:24:24 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
St.'s Mary and Joseph. I think that's a pretty strong endorsement of marriage as a vocation.
22 posted on 04/05/2004 1:24:39 PM PDT by conservonator (Blank by popular demand)
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To: Aliska
>> I don't see much joy in their lives now nor in the past. They seem either terribly burdened or were corrupted by the world. <<

I think a priest who remembers he is alter christi is about as rare as a married couple who do not lust even for each other.
23 posted on 04/05/2004 1:26:08 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
married couple who do not lust even for each other.

I don't see all lust as such a terrible thing. It is normal for most people, a biological drive. I do understand when you throw real love into the mix, which is rare for a lot of people, the lust element is diminished. But biologically, I don't know if you can perform sexually without sexual desire. There is probably a slight distinction, but where the line is drawn I do not pretend to know.

I refuse to get too hung up on it either way.

24 posted on 04/05/2004 1:31:53 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Aliska
I don't mean to sound like a sexual ascetic. You are right, a man cannot make children without having um..., and it helps the egg receive the healthiest sperm if the woman has um...

But that's not necessarily "lust," anymore than the desire to eat is "gluttony." That's sort of why I made the reference to calling out to God... atheists don't do that unless it's really good sex* (or they're faking). Just like one can eat delicious food and not be a glutton.

* And please, no more inferences about my um, history!
25 posted on 04/05/2004 1:38:30 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
One name that I didn't see mentioned in the "Married Saints" list is St. Monica. Also, unlike some of the other saints, she gained her sanctity through her married life, not by leaving it. She had a very difficult marriage, and the well-known problems with her son, St. Augustine.

As to the more general question, I think it is the wrong approach to say, "The Church is at fault by not canonizing more married people." Isn't it much more likely that married people are generally just not candidates for sainthood?

There are 3 levels of holiness: Level 1 is living in a state of grace; Level 2 is the habitual practice of virtues like charity, patience, humility, obedience; Level 3 is practicing the heroic virtues that we associate with canonized saints. How many married people ever ascend to Level 3? The evidence indicates very few.

The evidence of today indicates that only a very small percentage is making it even to Level 1. The vast vast majority are living in mortal sin. Then of the small number who at least rise above Level zero, how many of them ever become truly humble, truly mortified, truly immune to the temptations of the world. I find that even among the "good Catholics" that I know, there is a pervasive worldliness that would preclude them from being considered even for Level 2.

And then of that number, how many ever approach to Level 3? How many married people ever experience mystical union with Christ, how many are given the gift of miracles or of reaching thousands of hardened hearts? Canonized saints are not just people who squeaked under the bar. They must possess unusual heroic virtues that are attested to by supernatural events. This virtually never happens with married people. Right now the Church is rushing to canonize some married people for reasons that are open to question, but I have yet to hear that any of them possessed miraculous spiritual powers such as we associate with Padre Pio.

Lest we married people feel discouraged, there are other categories of Catholics that are even more under-represented, such as parish priests. The devil himself, while tempting St. Jean Vianney the Cure of Ars, told him that he was wasting his time since no parish priest had ever become a canonized saint. St. Jean Vianney proved the devil wrong in his own case, but I'm not sure whether there have been any others since then.
26 posted on 04/05/2004 1:40:14 PM PDT by Maximilian
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To: Aliska
OK, I decided to amend my last comment in person, because I'm getting to the point where I don't want to broadcast permanently my record here:

But, don't you think that worshipful ecstasy is even more pleasurable than ecstasy apart from God?

The issue is not whether or not the sex is enjoyed and desired, but whether or not people keep in mind, even as they do it, that they are doin something that God has called them to do it. People say grace before eating, but how many people make worship a part of their sex?
27 posted on 04/05/2004 1:43:33 PM PDT by dangus
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To: admin
Yipes! That was not supposed to be public! That was supposed to be a letter!
28 posted on 04/05/2004 1:44:22 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
And please, no more inferences about my um, history!

Fair enough :-).

Jesus seemed concerned when the natural desire in marriage, which may or may not have an element of lust in it, was directed outside the marriage. To do that in one's heart was considered sinful.

Beyond that, I don't know how anybody can really judge it objectively as it is such a subjective thing.

Unbridled lust or persons incapable of healthy emotional attachment and fulfillment are not a desirable thing imo and bring much heartache to individuals and society.

I do think people having a spiritual bond in their relationship are better off. The others are missing something important, but that is their problem and they have to deal with it.

29 posted on 04/05/2004 1:51:01 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: dangus
but how many people make worship a part of their sex?

I have no idea. There are certain barriers there, probably as a result of conditioning.

30 posted on 04/05/2004 1:54:48 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Aliska
>> I do think people having a spiritual bond in their relationship are better off. <<

Of course! How good is it if people are widly, madly, passionately in love with each other! But it is not good if their desire for one another is greater than their desire for God, or if they become an idol to each other. (Looking to get what they need in life from each other, rather than from God through each other.)

31 posted on 04/05/2004 1:56:00 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
I think you nailed that one.
32 posted on 04/05/2004 1:57:38 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: dangus
I'm not saying this out of any partisan or sectarian spirit, and in fact you'll find that any discussion of the SSPX comes not from me but from those who want to accuse me of schism, but the most inspiring story of a holy married couple I have ever read were articles in back issues of The Angelus magazine that related the story of Archbishop Lefebvre's parents. They truly lived lives of heroic virtue. Of their 8 children, 2 sons became priests and 3 daughters became nuns. His mother lived a very saintly life, both early in her marriage when she was struggling to raise a large family and later after her husband died and she struggled to keep the family business going. All the while she practiced an intense spiritual life and was the local director of a 3rd order group. Archbishop Lefebvre's father was also a model of sanctity who served in the French underground in both WWI and WWII (their region of northern France was occupied both times). Eventually he was arrested by the Nazis and executed.
33 posted on 04/05/2004 2:01:52 PM PDT by Maximilian
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To: A.A. Cunningham; TotusTuus; siunevada; conservonator; Maximilian; Canticle_of_Deborah
Thanks for your answers, all, but do any of you have a Catholic list you could ping?
34 posted on 04/05/2004 2:06:00 PM PDT by dangus
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To: Maximilian
I wouldn't blame Abp. Lefebvre's parents just because his kid was a schismatic. :) Only teasing.

But to your first posting: I know what you are saying about there being a lack of holiness among the married vocations. And that's my point: we need guidance into holiness, not just into spiritual mediocrity! But all our examples are virgins and martyrs... precious few providers, lovers and parents.

Choose any other form of worship, and you'll find libraries expounding on it. But try finding how one goes about making the consummation of a marriage into a worshipful act, and you're pretty much left to personal revelation!
35 posted on 04/05/2004 2:26:06 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
But try finding how one goes about making the consummation of a marriage into a worshipful act, and you're pretty much left to personal revelation!

The consummation of marriage is a worshipful act.

SD

36 posted on 04/05/2004 2:28:06 PM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: SoothingDave
Yes... not what I meant.
37 posted on 04/05/2004 2:34:21 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
we need guidance into holiness, not just into spiritual mediocrity! But all our examples are virgins and martyrs... precious few providers, lovers and parents.

Maybe there is a good reason for that. One must be a saint before one can be declared a saint. There is no "affirmative action" in the canon of saints. God does not have an obligation to spread holiness around equally. As Christ said to the rich young man, "If you wish to be perfect, you must sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and come follow me." St. Paul reiterated that the vocation to the consecrated life is a higher calling. This has likewise been the teaching of the Catholic Church for 2000 years. If one is looking for Hall of Fame ballplayers, one doesn't look in the minor leagues.

But try finding how one goes about making the consummation of a marriage into a worshipful act, and you're pretty much left to personal revelation!

Again, one should assume that there is a good reason for that. When has it ever been said that the consummation of a marriage is a worshipful act? I think you're looking for something in Catholic theology that just isn't there -- at least it was never there until the innovations of the last couple decades. Like Sherlock Holmes' "dog that didn't bark," we can learn a lesson from traditional Catholic theology that didn't ever teach that consummation of the marriage act was "worshipful."

What Catholic theology has taught instead is that the marriage act must be subordinated to a higher purpose, which is the procreation and education of children. Thus any glorification of the act for its own sake is going to be counter to traditional Catholic theology.

38 posted on 04/05/2004 2:52:33 PM PDT by Maximilian
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To: Maximilian
>> St. Paul reiterated that the vocation to the consecrated life is a higher calling. <<

So, if I'm not called to a vocation of fatherhood, you're saying, I'm only called to the "minor leagues"?

>>When has it ever been said that the consummation of a marriage is a worshipful act?<<

So you're asserting, through rhetorical question, that the consummation of a marriage is *not* supposed a worshipful act.
39 posted on 04/05/2004 3:01:08 PM PDT by dangus
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To: Maximilian
Let me state that better: I mean to subordinate it to a higher calling. Don't I do that by bringing God into the act itself?
40 posted on 04/05/2004 3:03:14 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
So, if I'm not called to a vocation of fatherhood, you're saying, I'm only called to the "minor leagues"?

The religious life is a higher calling. Taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience puts one in a different league compared to marriage vows. Of course each one of us must work out our own salvation in whatever situation God has placed us in. But we should be prompted by honesty, by humility and by Catholic doctrine to recognize that the religious state of life is a higher one than our own.

41 posted on 04/05/2004 3:23:54 PM PDT by Maximilian
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To: dangus
I mean to subordinate it to a higher calling. Don't I do that by bringing God into the act itself?

No. While one should remember the presence of God in all activities no matter how mundane, the way to "subordinate the marriage act to a higher calling" is to preserve its inherent orientation towards the procreation and education of children. Here is what Pope Pius XII declared:

Pope Pius XII Allocution to Italian Midwives

Articles, chapters, entire books, conferences, especially dealing with the "technique" of love, are composed to spread these ideas, to illustrate them with advice to the newly married as a guide in matrimony. If from their complete reciprocal gift of husband and wife there results a new life, it is a result which remains outside, or, at the most, on the border of "personal values"; a result which is not denied, but neither is it desired as the center of marital relations.

But this, however, it is a matter of a grave inversion of the order of values and of the ends imposed by the Creator Himself. We find Ourselves faced with the propagation of a number of ideas and sentiments directly opposed to the clarity, profundity, and seriousness of Christian thought. Now, the truth is that matrimony, as an institution of nature, in virtue of the Creator's will, has not as a primary and intimate end the personal perfection of the married couple but the procreation and upbringing of a new life. The other ends, inasmuch as they are intended by nature, are not equally primary, much less superior to the primary end, but are essentially subordinated to it.

We Ourselves drew up a declaration on the order of those ends, pointing out what the very internal structure of the natural disposition reveals. We showed what has been handed down by Christian tradition, what the Supreme Pontiffs have repeatedly taught, and what was then in due measure promulgated by the Code of Canon Law. Not long afterwards, to correct opposing opinions, the Holy See, by a public decree, proclaimed that it could not admit the opinion of some recent authors who denied that the primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of the offspring, or teach that the secondary ends are not essentially subordinated to the primary end, but are on an equal footing and independent of it.

Would this lead, perhaps, to Our denying or diminishing what is good and just in personal values resulting from matrimony and its realization? Certainly not, because the Creator has designed that for the procreation of a new life human beings made of flesh and blood, gifted with soul and heart, shall be called upon as men and not as animals deprived of reason to be the authors of their posterity. It is for this end that the Lord desires the union of husband and wife.

All this is therefore true and desired by God. But, on the other hand, it must not be divorced completely from the primary function of matrimony—the procreation of offspring. Not only the common work of external life, but even all personal enrichment—spiritual and intellectual—all that in married love as such is most spiritual and profound, has been placed by the will of the Creator and of nature at the service of posterity. The perfect married life, of its very nature, also signifies the total devotion of parents to the well-being of their children, and married love in its power and tenderness is itself a condition of the sincerest care of the offspring and the guarantee of its realization.


42 posted on 04/05/2004 3:44:44 PM PDT by Maximilian
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To: Maximilian
OK, thank you.
43 posted on 04/05/2004 3:51:29 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus

Timothy and Maura MM (RM)

Died at Antinoë, Egypt, in 298. Joined in life as husband and wife for three weeks, the newly-weds Timothy and Maura were nailed against a wall because Timothy, a reader, refused to hand over the Sacred Books. They consoled and encouraged each other during the nine days they hanged there until their martyrdom under Diocletian (Benedictines, Coulson).


44 posted on 04/05/2004 3:55:43 PM PDT by GirlShortstop
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To: dangus
some of the most hardened atheists call out for God.

Great homily just a week or so ago on EWTN about the Catholic view of sex; it's sacred between a husband and wife because... we have the "power of God" in creating life... God allowed humans that Gift even after The Fall.  homily in real audio
45 posted on 04/05/2004 4:06:06 PM PDT by GirlShortstop
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To: dangus
St. Louis IX, King of France, married to Marguerite of Provence. He was considered a holy, kind, and just ruler; he died in Tunisia in 1270, on the way home from one of the last Crusades (gasp!).
46 posted on 04/05/2004 4:45:02 PM PDT by Gumdrop
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To: dangus
We are called to be who God created us to be. Not everyone can or should be a priest or nun. Our challenge in this lifetime is to discover our talents, and use them for God's work in the world as He intended.

That being said, Marriage and Holy Orders are both Sacraments and I wouldn't label one path as better than the other. God's will is paramount.

It is easier for a single religious to achieve an advanced spiritual state because they are not distracted by the cares of the world as much as those who live in the world. That is why monastics reach greater heights rapidly, more so than parish priests or non-cloistered nuns. A life given completely to God every minute of the day culminates in mystical union with God. St. John of the Cross' "Ascent of Mt. Carmel" is a wonderful guide to the mystical path (as are his other works).

So, in answer to that part of your question, I think the scarcity of married saints is more practical than theological.

As to the sexual aspect of your question, it depends on its use (like food or anything else, it can be good or bad). The OT Song of Songs uses marital sexual imagery as metaphor for the soul's mystical union with God. Mystics such as St. John of the Cross and several others do the same. Celibates give up the earthly parallel of this union for the higher, ultimate manifestation. Some married couples also choose to do the same.

My overall point is, where a person's focus goes, progress follows. Everyone is called to be a saint. Whether we achieve it in this lifetime or not depends on our ability to detach from material desires of this world.
47 posted on 04/05/2004 5:10:31 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: GirlShortstop
Marriage will never take a "back seat" to the clergy as a calling, as long as the clergy includes the likes of Luther...

: )
48 posted on 04/05/2004 5:59:56 PM PDT by Tuco Ramirez (Ideas have consequences.)
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To: GirlShortstop
Thank you very much... I look forward to getting to hear this.
49 posted on 04/06/2004 7:24:13 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
Thank you Debbie, what you posted is quite beautiful.
50 posted on 04/06/2004 7:24:57 AM PDT by dangus
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