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49. The Blessings of Marriage

1. The disorder brought into human life by original sin has madethe generative act so intensely emotional as to remove it from theready control of reason. Hence, to justify this act in fallen man,some compensating goods or blessings must attach to marriage.

2. Such goods are listed by Peter the Lombard (iv Sent.D. 31) as: fidelity, offspring, sacrament. Fidelity keeps theman and wife true to one another exclusively in the performing oftheir marital act. Offspring is the good fruit of the marital act,and belongs to it in intention even if the marriage provesunfruitful. Sacrament is the holiness of the state and duties ofspouses.

3. Of the three marriage goods or blessings, sacrament isthe most excellent. For that which makes marriage a divinelyinstituted and supernatural state is its most notable and essentialblessing.

4. Since the three marriage goods or blessings-sacrament,fidelity, offspring-are the things that make the marriage actdifferent from the lawless use of sex, it follows that these threeblessings justify and sanctify the marriage act, and remove itentirely from the category of sin.

5. Therefore, without the marriage blessings or goods, themarriage act could not be justified as a good act.

6. Yet a spouse, seeking only pleasure in the maritalaction, would not be guilty of serious sin unless his quest weresuch as to involve a will and intention to illicit indulgence werelawful means unavailable to him.

"For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?"
Thomas á Kempis

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"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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"God looks neither at long nor beautiful prayers, but at those that come from the heart."
The Cure D'Ars

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