MANILA, July 28, 2015 – The experience of sharing a life with someone in marriage is meant to be a “rich religious experience.”
This was the message of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the 2nd Marriage Encounter National Congress held last July 25, Saturday, at the Century Park Hotel.
Closing the gathering with a solemn Eucharistic celebration, Tagle, in his homily, talked about the centrality of human encounters, particularly in marriages or friendships, which can be a rich religious experience if it becomes a “communion with God”.
Fear of marriage
Tagle emphasized the word encounter, which is the Holy Father’s “model of mission”. Each encounter must carry with it an experience of the Divine, he explained.
However, the cardinal also pointed out several blocks to such an encounter. One of which is becoming “too calculating, too pragmatic, and too functional”. When this happens, “people are forgotten and miracles cease to happen”, he added.
Nowadays, however, “many people are afraid of marriages, of family life,” he shared. “[Young people] hear bad things, see only bad things.”
This situation was also brought up last year at the Synod by European Bishops, leading them to ask the following questions: first, “Who is sowing the seeds of fear in the young?” and second, “How eagerly are we sowing the seeds of joy and the Good News of family among our young people?”
The Gospel alive in the family
Quoting St. Paul, Tagle said, “Evil is conquered by good.”
Good News, according to the youngest cardinal, means “God is with us, Emmanuel”. He also defined the Gospel as the “Good News of Jesus Christ”. Through Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection, “the life of God and the Holy Spirit poured into the hearts [of men],” he said. “We have the pledge of new life.”
However, it was the love of God that made this possible, explained Tagle. “Death could not contain love. Death was defeated,” he said. “Death does not have the final word. Only hope coming from God.”
“Imagine this, [the paschal mystery], embodied in the family,” Tagle challenged the participants.
The prelate stressed the family should and still is be where one first and foremost experiences the love of God and where one will always experience it.
“[A] family [rooted] in Christ is truly an experience of the Gospel,” he said.
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ must be experienced in the family.”
Some 700 delegates attended the event organized by the Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines. (Natalie Hazel Quimlat/CBCPNews)