Hungry? Offer It Up for Marriage

The U.S. Bishops have an idea:  With the Supreme Court about to hear an important case on the rights of homosexuals to marry, the bishops invite you to fast today.  Dedicate your penance, they urge, for the intention of marriage:

For the justices of the Supreme Court, that when they consider two marriage-related cases later this month, they would uphold the authentic meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, a good in itself and for all of society.

This is a good idea.  Just publishing their flyer today, on the day of fast, is NOT such a good idea—I’d have told you (and told myself!) yesterday, had I seen anything in the news about it.  (Of course, it may have been pushed aside due to the dramatic news yesterday, namely, the resignation of our Holy Father.) 

Nonetheless, late is better than not at all; so if you’ve already had breakfast and lunch and some snacks (as I have), consider sacrificing in whatever way you can today:  have dinner an hour late; skip the dessert; don’t eat between meals.  Let us join together to offer our minor mortifications in defense of the sacred institution of marriage.

WHY FAST?

It’s a Lenten Friday.  On the Fridays of Lent, Catholics abstain from eating meat, and unite their penance with that of the crucified Christ for the reparation of sins.

There are only two days on which both fast and abstinence are required in the modern Church in the U.S.:  Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday.  So today, we abstain (we don’t eat meat); but the bishops recommend an additional penitential act, fasting (refraining from eating between meals) as well for a special cause.

WHY NOW?

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers this explanation:

Beginning this month, the Supreme Court will consider two marriage-related cases: United States v. Windsor, about the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Hollingsworth v. Perry, about California’s Proposition 8. Depending on how the Court rules, there could be ramifications for marriage laws throughout the country. Oral arguments for the cases begin March 26, the same day as a March for Marriage to show support for upholding the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. A ruling on both cases is expected from the court by June.

REFLECTION

Catholic Social Teaching is clear that marriage and the family are essential to the common good:  “The family, the natural community in which human social nature is experienced, makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the good of society” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 213). The family, “born of the intimate communion of life and love founded on the marriage between one man and one woman,” is indeed “the first and vital cell of society” (no. 211).

The importance of marriage and the family to the common good is why the Church works tirelessly to enact laws that recognize and support marriage’s authentic meaning as the union of one man and one woman. According to the Compendium, society and state institutions are called “to guarantee and foster the genuine identity of family life and to avoid and fight all that alters or wounds it” (no. 252).

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Visit www.usccb.org/fast to sign the fasting pledge and to sign up for weekly email reminders and intentions, or text “FAST” TO 99000 to receive weekly text messages.

  • Pingback: Reminder: Fast and Pray for Tuesday’s March For Marriage

  • Michelle Kilarjian

    What exactly makes marriage between a man and woman “authentic”? I am a 27 year old woman who has been a Catholic since birth. When I think of offering my penance for my suffering, as a Catholic and woman wh is gay, I am naturally led to offer my pain up to God over the pain I feel about how being gay and our desire and right to marry is perceived, and of ALL the pain I have struggled with simply being gay and being raised a Christian. I have also come to realize that, when a person speaks about people who happen to be gay with the blanket term of “homosexuals”, I know for sure that they themselves, orthodox Catholics as they are, certainly have not themselves reached the full understanding what a human person is and separating an orientation from what a person is. It is a falsity and undermining of what God is able to create, by believing that a communion of souls, like that of marriage, cannot exist between 2 person of the same gender when in fact it does. Authentic marriage” is between man and woman: So, the marriage that lesbian friend and partner had to a man when they were both 20, who was a hick and forced her to partake of threesomes, and who is very unrefined, uncultured, does not believe in God, etc, is more authentic than Sarah and I, now having found each other and are moving towards eventual marriage. I know Christ, Mary, the Saints, I am refined and cultured, I am a classical pianist, philosopher and church musician. The union between Sarah and I, is less authentic, ALWAYS, is less TRUE, is less PURE and CLEAN, than what my Sarah had with her David? Is that what you truly believe? For if that is truth, if that is how GOD sees it, than the gay person has no reason to get out of bed in the morning.

  • mark

    Dear Michelle,
    You seem to be a very loving and intelligent person and I understand where you are coming from. You have it all right, the definition of an authentic marriage is not defined by nor dependent on a person, be it a lustful, faithless, hateful husband, but also not by you or by me, but only on God, who has entrusted the fullness of Truth to the Catholic Church.


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