The Holy Family, A Pattern for All Families
By The Hermits, Jan 18 2016 10:07PM
In the Western World marriages are breaking up, at not an alarming rate, but at a terrifying rate. When a recent statistic in America said that as many Christian men, as non-Christian men were looking at Porn, when Michael Voris, of Church Militant, recently recalled a survey done some years ago by a New Jersey Franciscan priest and researcher, which said that 45% of 500 priests, who were interviewed, said they were gay, and that one in four of them had AIDS, and when Bishop Nunzio Galantino, the Secretary of the Italian Bishops conference said the following:
“Society has in its interior the grouping presence of different types of union….The State has the duty to answer everyone, respecting the common good above all. We’re learning that when facing such a complex reality as this the radical positions seem to prevail.”, one can only gasp at the scandal of the Christian men looking at porn and the 45% practicing Gay priests on the one hand, and the intellectual and theological incompetence of the Bishop. Will he be allowed to continue to talk such rubbish? I dare say, sadly, that he will.
These several incidents are very, very depressing, and the problem of continually stating how awful things are, is that one’s vision gets blurred. Every silver lining now has not only a cloud, but a cloud resembling a tornado or gigantic thunderstorm. When someone said to St. Peter of Alcantara how bad things were in the Church, the Saint replied that he would begin by reforming himself. The approach at present is to root out the rotten apples in the Church, and the Curia, which is a very good thing, but what would be even better is this, that we tried to become saints and then pray for the conversion of these tragic men, be they Porn watchers or Gay priests.
The problem is that we are somewhat lacking in imagination. What has to be stressed is very simple and it is this, marriage is not simply about sex, it is primarily about having children, first and foremost. It most definitely is not about titillation and the erotic, and marriage should be approached with the chaste attitude of a Tobit and Sarah, or the equally chaste approach of St. Thèrése’s parents, now like their daughter, saints. They are saints precisely because of their marriage.
In all the moral and sexual chaos which is causing the spiritual shipwreck of millions upon millions of Westerners, I wonder how many Cardinals, Bishops and priests are preaching eloquently on the Holy Family? I suspect rather few.
I remember back in the 1980’s presenting the Holy Family as a perfect example of the perfect family. Our Canon Law and Moral theology lecturer responded by saying something like “That’s not a real marriage”, but it was, if he had cared to see what the Fathers of the Church, saints and mystics had said. The lecturer’s failure is that he saw marriage in canonical terms i.e. if it was not consummated, it could not be a proper marriage, and therefore could be annulled. Another canonist said that a couple could do almost anything to enable a successful copulation to take place! The canonist was not obviously liberal, but he was wrong. Both men, the former liberal, and the other a victim of his age, had missed the point. All marriages should reflect not only the Holy Family which is virginal, but the Trinity whose three persons according to St. Gregory Nazianzen are virgins, which is a rather nice way of viewing things. St. Augustine in one of his sermons noted that if husbands and wives could have children without sex they would jump at it, and goes on to say the something similar about food.
To us contemporary Catholics and other Christians, with the exception of the Orthodox, this sounds mad, but it is in fact utter sanity. The uncontrollable aspect of sexual arousal, and sexual intercourse shows, from the fact that it is so difficult to control, that something is not working properly, and this is all because of Original Sin.
The marriage of Joseph and Mary was utterly different from that of Adam and Eve. Literally the marriage of Joseph and Mary was made in Heaven, and that of Adam and Eve’s, though not made in Hell, was the result of Satan’s successful temptation of Eve, and Eve’s successful temptation of Adam. With “The Fall” comes concupiscence, which is that tendency to sin, which was not in Eden, and came only with “The Fall”.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph all wished to do the Father’s will, not their own. Joseph and Mary concentrated all their love on Jesus, and he poured out all his love on them. What mattered was the love of God, not lust. We are asked to love God purely and each other in the same vein. Sexual attraction, and sex in marriage needs the greatest restraint and must always be carried out in a spirit of true love, true obedience to God’s will, and with a purity of mind and heart. No fantasies must invade this sacred domain. Everything really must be guided by the spirit, and that is why Augustine the Great and his most ardent follower Gregory the Great always felt there was something ever so slightly sinful in the sexual act, and anyone who is really honest will admit that there is some truth in all this. Infatuation will never be a foundation for marriage, or any relationship for that matter.
The erotic marriage, the contracepting marriage, the “Gay Marriage”, which is no marriage at all, will bring not only death to these relationships, but spiritual death, and for the Gay relationship, very often death.
Marriage must be rooted in the Love of God, enveloped in the Holy Spirit, guided at every turn by Jesus. As Jesus was the centre of the Holy Family, so must he be the centre and source of married love, the friend who is always there, who always cares for the couple and shares everything with them, but they must give themselves unreservedly to him.
And so before I close I would like to recommend St. Philip Neri to the homosexual world. Something that is not usually known about this most lovable and eccentric of saints is this, that he had a gift for curing homosexuals. So perhaps someone might like to put St. Philip forward, a handsome man by all accounts, unlike his great contemporary, St. Charles Borromeo famed for his ugliness, as the patron saint of homosexuals. Now! I think that would be a very sensible and mildly imaginative thing to do, but I fear that in a Church, grown dreadfully mediocre, this would be just too imaginative for words; we can but hope! May the Holy Family inspire, protect and guide us, and St. Philip pray for us, and help us to not take ourselves too seriously, and be like you; truly joyful and self-forgetful