Piece by Piece

Part of the Church’s theology of the Sacrament of marriage is that marriage provides for the couple a remedium concupiscentiae, a “remedy for concupiscence.” Concupiscence refers to the general tendency of sinful humanity toward that which is self-destructive and sinful. One of the core gifts of grace Jesus gives us through the Sacraments is a healing remedy that, through our free cooperation, strengthens our weakened wills and repairs our broken minds so we can live in the freedom of God’s children. This grace wells up within the marital Sacrament to help each of the spouses to overcome concupiscence by means of marriage’s challenge to mutual self-giving and mutual service. In particular, the gift of motherhood and fatherhood, which crowns and overflows the marital union, unleashes a whole fresh set of graced remedies for overcoming concupiscence and making married saints out of individual sinners.

One especially gorgeous effect of this “remedy” that I have witnessed many times in my life — and received — is the way marital love can bring healing to a spouse who has suffered psychological or spiritual damage early in life — especially from parents. The remedium concupiscentiae that flows from a faithfully lived marriage can free a spouse, over time, to regain trust, a sense of self-worth and dignity that, through the Sacrament, is re-grounded in Christ’s faithful love and mercy. This remedial effect brings about what is called, in a lovely phrase of canon law, a sanatio in radice, a “healing in the root.” This healing passes by way of years of faithful striving together to be faithful to the nuptial promises walking hand-in-hand along the way of the cross. This, I believe, is really what Ephesians 5:20-33 is all about.

A very-pregnant Kelly Clarkson recently sang a song she wrote about her own experience of this “remedy” that has come to her through her husband’s love for her and for her children. It has shone grace into the wreckage left by her own father’s unfaithful and mercenary love.

It’s really stunning to watch and hear. Listen here:

7 comments on “Piece by Piece

  1. nos says:

    SOMEONE PLEASE bring more tissues…

  2. Rosa Dure says:

    So beautiful and powerful. Thanks for the wonderful reflection.

  3. Wow! My dear friend, you couldn’t have posted anything better for this beautiful day. What a magnificent gift Our Great Creator has given mankind—the gift of music—the gift that can, as this song does, soothe a weary soul. My own Mom must have serenaded me in the womb, for I have a great love of music, as I explain at my site. If I am blessed enough to one day be invited into that place of perpetual Paradise, I pray that My Father in Heaven will allow me to join the choirs of angels making beautiful music in His honor and glory. I intuitively know from what Jesus has told us through John, in Revelations and elsewhere in Scripture, that such will be happening for eternity. If, as Jesus tells us, I cannot even come close to imagining what that will be like, then the small taste of that heaven on earth through music must indeed be a magnificent foretaste of what is possible if we but take up our daily cross and live as if it were our last day on this planet. Difficult to do; but most certainly well worth the effort in the final analysis.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful message and for coming back early to your blog efforts. We have missed you.

    I have forwarded several of your posts to friends to whom I have recommended your site. May I post a link to your site so that those who visit mine might come to yours and enjoy the richness of your thoughts on theology and other topics? In my most recent post I referred to you post concerning the “dark night of the soul” and your experiences therewith. But there is much more wisdom of yours that I would like to share with friends who ask for recommended sites that I visit and from which I garner frequent blessings and “new techniques” that help me in my own efforts to keep the pathways straight.

    Much love, prayer, and thanks for your commitment to your followers and to great ideas for meditation. Pax tecum, my friend!


    PS: NOS, love you man!!

  4. Oneview says:

    Thanks. Hard to watch, but easy to relate to when one has experienced what Kelly experienced. I am so thankful for her willingness to share the gift of music she’s been given.

    • So am I, OneView. How important artists are to a culture’s health, when they do good, true and beautiful art. I thought of JP2’s words when I watched this: “In producing a work, artists express themselves to the point where their work becomes a unique disclosure of their own being, of what they are and of how they are what they are.”

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