Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Archives Follow Me

Marriage: One Flesh, Given and Received
‘In harmony with God’s design’


By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

July 5, 2023

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

The recently deceased music icon, Tina Turner, famously sang the question: “What’s love got to do with it, got to do with it? What’s love but a secondhand emotion?” Love is more than an emotion. Love is a decision to sacrifice oneself for the good of the beloved. Love has everything to do with it! Self-discipline, delayed gratification, sacrifice, and unconditional love seem like foreign words to our vocabulary and mode of operating today.

The Church teaches that the sacrament of marriage symbolizes Christ’s relationship with His Church. It’s a relationship of generous, self-sacrificing passion-filled and fruitful love. Today, the Church’s teachings regarding sexuality meet aggressive resistance. Many consider her teaching regarding artificial contraception to be outdated, unrealistic or too burdensome.

During Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, (July 23-29), our Church focuses our attention on Marriage: One Flesh, Given and Received. Responsible parenthood asks couples to discern God’s will in their lives and to live in harmony with God’s design through natural means of family planning. In his Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, Pope St. Paul VI wrote a beautiful reflection on married love and the gift of life.

Marriage is a sacrament where spouses freely commit themselves to loving one another with a love that is fully human, respecting God’s design for marriage and sexuality. Love is not a “secondhand emotion.” While society insists that using artificial means to avoid a pregnancy are morally neutral, our faith teaches us that it is the whole person and the whole mission to which he and she are called that must be considered, both its natural, earthly aspects, and its supernatural, eternal aspects. Tragically, today we give little attention to the supernatural or things eternal.

St. Paul VI wrote that it is important to remember that one is “not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator and to accept that there are certain limits to the power of the human person over his or her body and its functions out of reverence for God’s creation” (HV, 13, 17).

To assist you in your faith journey, I encourage you to learn more about what the Church teaches about marital love by visiting our Natural Family Planning office at our diocesan webpage. We are so fortunate to have Angelo and Suzanne Pietropaoli as directors as well as all those who help with its instruction in our marriage preparation classes.

May we all grow in respect and appreciation for our creation as male and female in the image and likeness of God. May our hearts be open to ever deeper conversion.

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg


North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.