Get- together and course on marriage at Loeches, Madrid (Spain) from October 29-November 1, 2016.
The Home of the Mother took advantage of the four day weekend around All Saints’ Day to organize a get-together for lay people at the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception in Loeches (Madrid). During the get-together we had an interesting course on marriage and conjugal spirituality. Families from all over Spain assisted.
The get-together began on Saturday, October 29 with Morning Prayer and adoration guided by Fr. Rafael according to Benedict XVI’s method of lectio divina. It is the search for intimate dialogue with God through the reading Sacred Scripture. Father always explains it to us so well. Father Felix then gave the first talk of the course. He spoke about the historical evolution of marriage from paganism, which considered it as a mere human institution, to the Second Vatican Council, which formally recognized the sanctifying values of the sacrament for the spouses. After lunch and the rosary, we had two classes given by Fr. Ángel Castaño, professor of Dogmatic Theology in the University of San Dámaso in Madrid. He enlightened us on God’s plan for human sexuality and its essential dimension, and the rupture in the original harmony produced by Original Sin. We finished off Saturday with Mass, dinner, and a short meeting to share our impressions about what we had learned during the day.
We began Sunday with prayer directed by Fr. Rafael. Fr. Felix then gave us a second class. This time it was about the Sacrament of Marriage. He explained its meaning, when it was instituted, how it is received, and the importance of the sacrament’s grace as a necessary help for the spouses to carry out the ends of marriage. After Mass, lunch and the rosary, we had the great grace of listening to Msgr. Juan Antonio Reig Pla, Bishop of Alcalá de Henares, who captivated us with his talk on “Humane Vitae”. With his habitual elegance and depth, he spoke of different elements that give strength to the principals of Christian marriage’s moral doctrine, such as conjugal love, responsible paternity, and moral norms, all based on the love of God, which is the foundation of everything that exists.
On Monday, October 31, we had prayer in the morning and Fr. Felix spoke to us about the man’s role in the family according to the Apostolic Exhortation, “Into the Breach”, by Msgr. Thomas J. Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix. He explained the meaning of being a Catholic man, how he must love, and why paternity is so essential to him. We had our last class with Fr. Felix after lunch and the rosary. He spoke to us about the resurrection of the flesh, the new birth that sacramental grace causes in us (which burns away concupiscence and heals our very essence), and about the redemption of the body that Christ carried out with His death on the cross, which makes us capable of that beautiful spousal donation to which we are all called. We had Mass, dinner, and then, we married couples got together again to continue commenting what we had spoken about during the day.
On Tuesday, Solemnity of All Saints’ Day, we had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Morning Prayer. Later, Rosa Duque, lay member of the Home of the Mother and pediatrician, told us about her recent trip to Ecuador, where she was able to witness the reconstruction of the Holy Family Educational Unit after the devastating earthquake that occurred there last April. She told us about her important medical work and formative talks that she had carried out with children and adults there. She updated us on the news in the different communities of Servant Brothers and Sisters in the country.
Marriage is the sacrament that makes visible to the world the invisible mystery of God’s love. We are conscious of the infinite generosity that the Lord has manifested by creating us to participate in His love and eternal life. We thank Him for the beautiful and demanding vocation of marriage and we say goodbye with the desire to reach perfection in charity.