20 May 2009
Prelude to a Reasoned Discussion on the Theology of the Body in Light of Recent Controversies
How shall I find words to describe the happiness of a marriage, whose tie is formed by the hands of the Church, which is confirmed by the sacred oblation, sealed by the blessing, proclaimed by the angels, and ratified by the heavenly Father? How wonderful a yoke is that which is taken up by two of the same faithful united together in the same hope, in the same law, in the same duty! They have the same God for their Father, they serve the same Master, they are two in one flesh, they are one heart and soul. They pray together, they prostrate together, they fast together; they instruct each other, they exhort each other, they encourage each other. You see them together in the Church, and at the holy Table. They share in each other's trials persecutions, and joys. There are no secrets between them; no such thing as shunning each other, or being wearied of each other's company. They have not to hide from each other, in order to visit the sick or the needy. Their alms excite no disputes; they approve of each other's sacrifices; they interfere not with each other's practices of piety. They have no need to make the sign of the Cross stealthily; neither are they afraid to give way, in each other's presence, to feelings of love and gratitude for their God. They sing together the psalms and canticles: and if there be any rivalry between them, it is which of them shall best sing the praises of God. Oh! these are the marriages which gladden the eyes and ears of Christ. These are the marriages to which he imparts his blessing of peace. He has said, that He would be where two are united together; therefore, He is in such a house as the one we are describing; and the enemy of man is not there.
--Tertullian, Ad uxorem, lib. ii, cap.ix.