Loading
January 22, 2008
Family Life as Gift to All: Reason and Revelation
By Bishop Arthur Serratelli *

By Bishop Arthur Serratelli *

Today, marriage has lost its attraction for many Americans.  Fewer people are taking the walk down the aisle.  In the last thirty years, the number of men and women exchanging marriage vows has fallen by 50%.  At the same time that marriage has been declining, there has been a rise in cohabitation.  Today ten times more individuals than in 1960 are opting to live with someone else in a sexual relationship without being married.

Many people simply do not subscribe to the value of forming a stable, loving, committed family unit into which children are welcomed.  Sexual activity has become a personal choice devoid of its impact on the emotional life of the other person and apart from its natural purpose of bringing children into the world.  Young people are living together more frequently and divorcing more often than their parents.  Most disturbing is the divorce of marriage itself from parenting.  More young people are becoming unmarried parents than two generations ago.  Today, of all teenagers, only 45% live with their married biological parents.

Social sciences give us statistics about marriage that make the case for marriage on the level of reason itself.  On an average, married people are more productive and experience greater joy in family life than the unmarried.  They are able to form more meaningful relationships with each other.  They have a more intense relationship than cohabitating individuals, even on the level of physical intimacy.  Married people even have longer life expectancies than their single peers.  Simply stated, men and women themselves benefit from the institution of marriage.

Furthermore, when children come into the world and are raised in a family where mother and father are married and stay married, the children themselves develop with a greater capacity for life.  They are physically and emotionally healthier than their counterparts from broken homes.  The risk of abusive or delinquent activity is substantially less than those from homes without a father or a mother.  They are more likely to achieve a college education.  When they marry, they have a decreased rate of divorce (cf. “Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences,” Bradford Wilcox, Institute for American Values, www.americanvalues.org/html/r-wmm.html).

Marriage benefits and protects men, women and children.  It also promotes the common good.  Reason itself argues for the institution of marriage.

Revelation provides the model.  God chose the stable family life of Mary and Joseph to be the birthplace of his only-begotten Son.  He who was the Son of God from all eternity became the son of the Virgin Mary in a home formed by love and sustained by sacrifice.  By being a part of a human family, the Redeemer sanctified marriage.  The birth of the Son of God to parents who were married gave marriage itself an even greater dignity.  Family life belongs to God’s plan for the world’s salvation.

At the home of the Holy Family, every family learns what it means to be open to God’s will, to respect life and to place the good of the other before one’s own comfort.  Here both the goodness of work and the imperative of sacrifice find their strength in love that is total and other-directed.  The intimate communion of love makes the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph the example of all the virtues needed not only to form a strong family but also to build a stable society where justice and peace give true freedom to all.  The simple home of Bethlehem and the humble hearth of Nazareth are a school where we learn how to translate the Gospel into our everyday life.

Reprinted with permission of The Beacon, newspaper of the Paterson Diocese.

Bishop Serratelli is the bishop of Paterson, New Jersey.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
17

Liturgical Calendar

December 17, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Gen 49: 2, 8-10
Gospel:: Mt 1: 1-17

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: