NR. 2 – 2019

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2019.2

Pr. Prof. Dr. Ioan CHIRILĂ, Lect. Dr. Stelian PAȘCA-TUȘA, Dr. Ioan POPA-BOTA, Lect. Dr. Claudia-Cosmina TRIF — Teologia luminii primordiale și relevanța ei pentru iconografie

Summary: Theology of the primordial light and its relevance for iconography

The present research paper commences with a few terminological parentheses that are important for both discovering the meaning of the biblical words and understanding their historical evolution in the languages and cultures that generated them. The theological discourse concerning divine light and grace in the Holy Scriptures is preceded by this endeavor that aims to define and circumscribe these meanings and determine the occurrence of these terms that are essential for both the theology of icon and stained glass. This endeavor gives scholars the opportunity to discover the nuances and depths that the sacred text provides the contemporary reader for understanding and entering the divine light and, moreover, for uniting with He Who is the Light and Who envelops everything in light. This linguistic assertion about the Hebrew word אוֹר (or) „light”, that is both used as noun and verb, is going to be useful in the present study in the attempt to explain the theophanies from the exilic period when God revealed Himself to His people by the pillar of fire, a theophanic element that clarifies the mystery of the first three days of creation. Fire and light are presented as elements of the uncreated energies’ mystery that has pervaded the entire creation since the very first day of this world. The thorough observations of this study’s authors prompt us to corroborate the daily light with the Primordial light, with the light that existed at the very beginning of the creation which God Himself called day. The name of this light itself makes us understand that it continues to exist in the created world, even though the main purpose it had – to enlighten and shine, was assumed by the celestial bodies that God created on the fourth day. Even though these celestial bodies are meant to govern day and night, they are not given diurnal or nocturnal characteristics as in the case of the Primordial light and darkness. The independence of the daily light from sun is to be seen in the occurrence of the term „or” in contexts that refer to daybreak, dawn and the daytime itself, without any mention of the sun. These terminological parentheses of the authors help us understand that, besides the light that we receive from the celestial bodies, there is a light that the biblical text highlights in a special way. It is the light that God created on the first day of creation, the light that emerges from His Being, and that did not lose its purpose even after the creation of the celestial bodies on the fourth day of creation. Continuing to fulfill their purpose, the uncreated light and the light of the celestial bodies coexist, without merging, but establishing order and harmony in creation. In other words, as the authors point out, this light is still present today in the created world even if it is not accessible to everyone. But, the icon can guide us towards it. In this respect, according to the present paper, we acknowledge the fact that in the Byzantine iconography light has a mystical significance for it is organically linked with the elevation of the soul in the light of God. Freed from the limitations of form and material, light in the Orthodox icon gains an intrinsic value that emerges from its core and emphasizes what is inaccessible and imperceptible for the eyes of man. Therefore, light in the Orthodox icon becomes a symbol of the unseen realm that can be contemplated by our intelligible vision. Providing the reader with a general perspective on the way in which „or” occurs in the Old Testament writings, the authors considered that it is necessary to offer a more detailed and thorough exposition to show how this linguistic entity is present in the Holy Scriptures. First of all, they presented the verbal structure, the noun structure and implicitly the adjectival and adverbial instances of the term „or”. Even though the noun instances are more predominant in these occurrences, the authors focus more on the verbal structure because in Hebrew the verbal structure is the core of the sentence, and it offers specificity and dynamism. According to them, these nuances allow us to better understand the semantic field of the verb „or”. The accents offered by these verbs allow us to create connections in the attempt to elucidate the way in which God reveals Himself through theophany. At the same time, through the introductory part of this study, that was designed to offer terminological data, the connection between light and darkness is made. Together with the appearance of light, the darkness that reigned over the abyss was limited by God, in such a way that it could never trespass its limitations without the approval of the Creator. However, darkness was embedded in the creation as a structuring power of the chaos and uncompleted creation, without having a negative connotation. Darkness and light are not at war, because they were both created by God. Both darkness and light are described as very good, perfect, even though light has primacy over darkness. At the same time, the prevalence of light over darkness can be seen in the association with life, while darkness is likened to death and decay. The vision of light is associated with the idea of living. Passing from darkness to light is compared by the Holy Scriptures with passing from death to life. This truth is best seen at sunrise. The burst of light in the early hours of morning is an image similar to that God created when He ordered light to come to existence. The clouded earth becomes perceptible and visible due to the appearance of light. The recalling of the days of creation described in the dialogue between God and Job suggests the idea that not only the primordial sunrise (morning on the first day of creation), but every sunrise is a recreation of the world, a renewing of the creation. In a spiritual perspective the apparition of light at dawn coincides with the delivering intervention of God Who saved the frightened man from the peril of darkness. Excepting the depiction of the place of punishment for the wicked, iconography also has a positive approach regarding darkness. On the contrary, in some Orthodox icons, darkness is depicted as the transcendent and inaccessible dimension of the divine mystery. Even though darkness has an obvious negative connotation, when it comes to iconography, this perspective is almost abolished and redirected to highlight the divine light. Also, the authors of this study refer to the eschatological light and darkness as it is depicted in the prophetic books, according to whom at the end of time, in the eschatological times, there will be a moment when darkness will embrace all creation and the celestial bodies will hide their light on the frightening day of Lord, causing great turbulence and chaos. However, all the prophets foretell that light will eventually triumph and darkness will regress, being replaced by the light of God. An outstanding aspect these authors address is the fact that the light of the celestial bodies will be overwhelmed and embraced by the uncreated light of God. Their light will no longer be necessary for man to contemplate He Who is Light. In this respect, the authors offer substantial evidence from the prophetic books of the Old Testament. However, the connection between light and darkness can fully be understood only if the whole context of the divine revelations is taken into consideration.

Pr. Conf. Dr. Vasile CREȚU — Catehisme ortodoxe și romano-catolice în România. O scurtă prezentare, selectivă și cronologică

Summary: Orthodox and Catholics catechisms in Romania. A short selective chronological presentation

This study aims to present the different catechisms which have been published in Romania in the last 100 years. The first catechism presented is “Norme nouă de catehizare”, published in Craiova in 1925. The most important ideas in this catechism rely on the moral education of the faithful of all ages. The paper emphasizes the way the catechists have to teach the Christian values, considering each person who listens to the preaching. In “Lecțiuni de catehizare normative asupra istoriei Vechiului Testament”, published in Bucharest in 1925, the author provides some models of catechesis, which can be used in teaching adults the Christian values, using in the Old Testament as a basis.

The next catechism analyzed is “Manual de catehizație”, appeared in Arad in 1930. This book is composed of 25 lessons, which explain the Symbol of Faith, the Holy Sacraments and the way a Christian should read the Bible. Another catechism analysed in this study, published in the same geographical area, in Sibiu in 1935, is named “Evanghelia în școală” (The Gospel in schools). In its case, the authors offer some solutions on how to teach the Christian values to the young people. The work has 5 chapters, treating in a very systematical manner the way to teach the Gospel by understanding first their psychology, and then by understanding the way of passing the information to young people.

In “Duh și Vieață”, published in Bucharest in 1940, the author highlights that, in order to have a solid religious education, it is necessary to use the Holy Bible more. The book is divided into two main parts – the first addressing boys and the second one addressing girls. In both parts, the author describes the lives of several remarkable men and women which became saints. The value of this work is given by the way it manages to find appropriate examples for boys and girls to understand the Christian values and to be motivated to respect them by having the right models.

In “Noțiuni de Istorie Sfântă a Vechiului și Noului Testament”, published in Bucharest in 1991, the reader can find 21 very good lessons based on the Old and New Testament, for the catechism of the children. The information is exposed in a very accessible manner, very suitable to the children. The next book analyzed appeared in Cluj-Napoca in 1993 and it is called “Învățătura de Credință Creștină Ortodoxă. This book is a republished version of the first official catechism which appeared in Bucharest in 1952. The purpose of this book is to provide to the faithful clarifications regarding the faith, in a systematic way, by eliminating any kind of confusion.

“Noul catehism catolic contra credinței Sfinților Părinți” (The new Catholic catechism against the faith of the Holy Fathers), appeared in Sibiu in 1994, addresses first the differences between Eastern and Western churches, and some innovations regarding the “Filioque” or some Catholic mistakes regarding the Christian faith. The volume is intended as a response to the new Catholic catechism. The authors succeed in providing constructive criticism regarding some teachings of the Catholic church.

The catechism intitled “Ghidul creștinului ortodox de azi” (The Guide of the Orthodox Christian of today) is also briefly analyzed in this study. It is divided into 8 chapters, treating different topics such as: the Christianity and the Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church, the persons venerated by the Church, the religious cult, the Christian feasts, the moral life, and other important topics covering different aspects of the Christian life.

“Comentariu la Catehismul Ortodox”, published in Sibiu, in 2000, is a remarkable catechetical work, written by father Ion Bria, who was a theologian of great value. In this book, one can find 12 catechetical syntheses covering a multitude of topics, such as: the revelation, the Christian religion, the creation, etc. The information can be used by faithful of all ages, as it is easy to be understood by any category of believers. The author succeeded in explaining some difficult theological aspects in an easy and accessible manner for any person to understand.

The study also analyzes a Catholic catechism published in Bucharest in 2011, intitled “Întrebări privitoare la credință” (Questions regarding faith). The author answers 150 questions from people who believe and who do not believe, in a very practical manner. The topics addressed range from the issue of non-acceptance of blood transfusion of Jehova’s Witnesses, to questions from atheists or people who have lost their faith. In the last part of the book, the author offers some responses to issues which appear in the Old Testament. This paper is certainly of great catechetical value, given the fact that it answers important questions, raised by the majority of Christian believers.

In “Mărturisirea Ortodoxă a Credinței Universale și Apostolice a Bisericii Orientale”, published in Iasi in 2012, one can find a new edition of the Petru Movila’s confession of faith, first published in 1667. This new edition includes the Latin version of the original paper. The catechism is divided into three parts, which treat the Symbol of Faith, the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes, as well as the virtue of loving the neighbor and loving God. This work is a cultural treasure, by having the original and translated texts in parallel.

“Mic îndreptar de credință”, published in 2014 in Bucharest, is a Catholic catechism, written by Michel Kubler, which covers all of the author conferences held in 2012-2013. The work is divided into 4 main parts which address: the Symbol of Faith, the faith as manifestation in Liturgy and Sacraments, the purpose of Christian life, and, in the last part, the faith and spiritual life. This catechism manages to cover practical aspects of life, as well as the differences between Orthodox and Catholic traditions.

In “Răspuns împotriva Catehismului calvinesc – operă misionară și apologetică a Ortodoxiei românești în veacul al XVII-lea”, published in Targoviste in 2015, one can find some very valuable studies regarding Saint Varlaam, the Metropolitan of Moldavia, focusing as well on his catechism against the Calvinists. This collection of studies offers the image of the Church in the 17th century.

Another catechism is “O introducere în creștinism” (Introduction in the Christianity), published in Bucharest in 2016. The author is Razvan Codrescu, a very well-known professor and editor, which creates a very well-structured catechism, with every idea supported by good references from old and new authors.

The last catechism analyzed in the current study is “Catehismul creștinului dreptcredincios”, as well as its most recent version, published in 2019 in Bucharest. This is a republished version of the catechism from 1957 of father Dumitru Belu, father Isidor Todoran and Iorgu Ivan. This catechism covers very well all aspects of Orthodox Christianity.

Pr. Lect. Dr. Zaharia MATEI — Ethosul muzical în cântarea liturgică bizantină

Summary: Aspects of musical ethos in the Byzantine liturgical chant

From a musical perspective, ἦθος reflects the general ability of music to influence the human spirit and to shape characters. This way, music plays a central role in shaping the affective and mental state of people. From a musical perspective, the term ἦθος or ἒθος, associated to musical modes, determines the character or expression of a mode. Each musical mode possesses a certain musical vibration, an individuality and consequently, the melodies composed in different musical modes confer multiple spiritual emotions to the listeners. Mode-system music has a deep impact on the human mind; especially clerical music, which is expressed in the 8 echoi, has contributed to the transformation and spiritual elevation of Christians in Church.

The theory of ancient musical mode-ethos was supported by Ancient musicians and philosophers and was passed down to later generations. For ancient people, some of the musical styles were able to contribute to defining the Christian character and cleansing the soul; on the contrary, other musical styles could deform the personality of people, thus constituting a real danger for their moral living. The idea behind ethos in music can be seen also in the flourishing period of artistic Byzantine music.

The Church writers and the Church Fathers were the directors of the Christian Liturgy and of the entire clerical life; they were reticent against profane music and against accepting some musical modes in the practical life of the Church because these were seen as theatrical manifestations found in different pagan activities. Church Theologians, such as Clement of Alexandria, St. Basil of Caesarea, St. John Chrysostom, reaffirmed that clerical chant should be expressed through musical modes that are suitable to the character of humility and modesty of Christian music. Some affirmations were adopted in the Church, others were denied because of the possibility of deforming the Christian character. Thus, all theologians of the Church needed to choose from a multitude of musical modes only the ones they found suitable and compatible with Christian faith and the character of humility and modesty that clerical psalmody has always displayed. In time, some musical modes were adopted and Christianized so that the total number of modes became 8; the number 8 is full of theological symbolism which is rooted in the teachings of the Church Fathers and also points to Heaven’s Liturgy in God’s Kingdom. The formation of the mode cycle within the Octoechos is attributed to mystagogic symbolism regarding the Eighth Day which is interpreted as an icon of the coming age, just as St. Basil of Caesarea recounted.

The cycle of the Octoechos, starting from the 5th century, gained a lot of impetus through the development of hymnography, through the contributions of patriarch Severus of Antioch, and was completed in the 8th Century, during the time of St. John of Damascus who gave an essential contribution to the 8 echoi by constructing the Sunday resurrection hymns.

Initially, the Church was reticent in adopting ethos in clerical music but in time, the 8 echoi were adopted and the idea of musical ethos on the 8 modes was cultivated in the Christian Church. Every musical mode expresses a certain intrinsic emotion, which is an ethically-esthetic aspect of clerical modes music found in the Hymn of the Octoechos; this hymn contains 8 stanzas and rhythmic verses whose author is still unknown; however, this musical poem could date back to the period where Byzantine music was still emerging, more precisely, after the completion of the Octoechos hymns. The source of inspiration for this esthetic study was the hymn, which was composed of 8 stanzas and 8 short commentaries on each of the 8 clerical modes, which is also noted in the work of the Greek Professor Chrysanthos of Madytos entitled: “ΜΕΓΑ ΘΕΩΡΗΤΙΚΟΝ ΤΗΣ ΒΥΖΑΝΤΙΝΗΣ ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗΣ”, and published in Trieste in 1832. This paper was reedited and republished for the 3rd time in Athens between 1976-1977. Besides the basic notions that were necessary for the study of psaltic music and the history of clerical music, the author adds some verses of each hymn at the end of each mode, which constitutes a poetic synthesis between the character and the expression of the specific mode.

In the Romanian music bibliography, Anton Pann refers to the modes or the ethos of each echoi in the Anastasimatarion, which was published in 1854 and was based on the work of his Greek Professor Dionisie Fotino who taught him music between 1812-1816. The Romanian psalt, namely Anton Pann, rendered the verses of the Octoechos in the beginning of the Vespers on all 8 modes in a shortened version, since it was translated from his Professor Dionisie Fotino who also wrote them down in Anastasimatarul– manuscris autograf, nr. 185, which can be found in the Library of the Patriarchal Palace. There are references of esthetic and ethical nature of the 8 echoi to be found in Bazul teoretic și Practic al muzicii bisericești sau gramatica melodică (1845) by Anton Pann. It is also important to mention the fact that the Byzantine semiotics acquired an esthetic and theological connotation in time. The author of the hymn addresses each mode to the second person, using the same compositional mechanism for the liturgical hymns. The Byzantine person is strongly connected with contemplating heavens which is why he conferred a spiritual connotation to both Church and music.

Just as the other manifestations of the Church, music must carry in itself both an esthetic and especially a spiritual connotation. This resulted in it being considered a channel that contributes to the creation of the prayerful atmosphere in the Church. Due to the fact that the majority of the Orthodox cult is manifested through chant, this has gained a liturgical character.

What follows is a synthetic presentation of the characteristics of each musical mode. The first mode is associated with the ancient Dorian mode. The first mode brings characteristics of sacredness and depth, or greatness and exaltation.The first mode expresses vivacity, vigor, courage and victory. The second mode, associated with the Lydian mode, brings melodic enchantment; its musical sweetness makes it flow like honey. The third mode, associated with the Ancient Phrygian mode, which is tough, ardent, proud, impetuous and impressive, has a heroic and dynamic character. The fourth mode brings the celebrating and choral character of chant. When it plays Di, it shows greatness, when it plays Bou it shows pathos and joy; when it plays Pa, it shows humility and the transition of the heart towards spirituality. The fifth mode has a character of pity and mourning, but is also full of charm when sung in a choir. The sixth mode carries unparalleled joy. The seventh mode, through its simplicity, brings peace in the souls of the listeners. Finally, the eighth mode encourages joy, liveliness and has a distinctly melodic character: it is the crown and the corollary of all modes. The Hymn of the Octoechos, which also circulates in shorter versions, highlights the importance of the 8 musical modes as well as the 8 different moods associated with different emotions that a Christian must feel within the Church, in his journey towards achieving holiness. Through these 8 modes, a Christian lives through prayer, feels peace, joy, the light of Christian holidays, forgiveness, and receives the spiritual power to remain consistent and steady in his Orthodox faith just as the saints did. The Christian can therefore feel the greatness and depth of the mysteries of God as well as the longing for a heavenly living with God, the Virgin Mary, the saints; nevertheless, this modal chant strengthens his spiritual communion with everybody else Present in the Church.

Diac. Lect. Dr. Florin Toader TOMOIOAGĂ — Despre iraționalitatea credinței la Gabriel Liiceanu: reeditarea polemicii dintre părintele Dumitru Stăniloae și filosoful Lucian Blaga

Summary: About the irrational character of the faith in Gabriel Liiceanu’s work: Revisiting the polemics between Fr. D. Stăniloae and the philosopher Lucian Blaga

The present study focuses on the assertions regarding faith made by the Romanian philosopher and writer Gabriel Liiceanu, in his book, Isus al meu (My own Jesus). While for Gabriel Liiceanu faith and belief are irrational in their character, for the Orthodox theology, they are based, at least partially, on reason, and the Orthodox Church does not neglect their rational character. For the Orthodox thinking and, generally for the majority of Christian theology, the dogmas, as intellectual projection of the content of the faith, maintain a subtle balance between reason and faith. Gabriel Liiceanu’s point of view is influenced by the concept of ninus dogmaticus (a tendency towards dogmatism) and of the antinomic, even absurd, structure of dogmas. The concept and the antinomy are taken from the philosopher Lucian Blaga who defines dogma mainly in Protestant terms (borrowed from Sören Kierkegaard and Karl Barth).

Lucian Blaga uses dogmas in the framework of his philosophical system to demonstrate how the intellectual projections of the human mind, i.e. the definitions of faith issued by the Ecumenical Councils, protect the mystery. He asserts that the dogmatic formulations are the most anti-intellectual expressions of the human spirit, made in an effort to defend the content of faith as irrational, beyond understanding and even absurd. The Romanian philosopher defines thus, the dogmas from a Protestant perspective, but underlines their positive character in the field of epistemology. He starts mainly from Sören Kierkegaard and Karl Barth in this respect, resorting as well to the Latin theologian Tertullian, with his famous words – often probably misinterpreted – Credo quia absurdum.

For this reason, a section of this study presents in a nutshell the relationship between faith and reason from the perspective of the above writers. In their works, Tertullian, Kierkegaard and Barth underline the tendency towards a separation between the two aspects of the human spirit. Faith is defined as a leap into a void, something that is accepted by trusting the word of God from the Scripture, sometimes against all evidence.

In his turn, Gabriel Liiceanu borrows from Lucian Blaga the notion of dogma as opposed to reason and extrapolates it to the whole realm of faith. Unlike the poet and the philosopher Lucian Blaga, G. Liiceanu considers the Christian doctrine as being a sum of arbitrary and absurd theoretical statements defined in specific historical circumstances, with no real transcendent reference.

The study aims to demonstrate that Lucian Blaga’s understanding of the faith and dogma – as a starting point for Liiceanu’s opinions on the topic – are misrepresentations of the Christian theology, at least from an Orthodox point of view. Both of them rest upon a representation of this topic specific to Protestant theology, Lutheran and Reformed. This misrepresentation was noticed by Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae, among others, at the end of the interwar period and the beginning of the 1940s, in the work of L. Blaga. In a series of articles dedicated to the work of the famous Romanian philosopher, Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae shows the lack of coherence of Blaga’s philosophical system and its incompatibility with the Christian thinking, generally, and with the Orthodox view, especially. The theologian shows that the Trinitarian and the Christological definitions of faith issued by the Ecumenical Councils are by no means devoid of any rational content, but until a certain point, they confirm the deepest expatiations of the human being and, therefore, they are compatible with reason.

The conclusion is that Gabriel Liiceanu misses a great opportunity of dialogue between philosophy and theology, offering in his book Isus al meu (My own Jesus) a misleading representation of faith. Resorting frequently to the philosophical sources, the Romanian writer establishes a monologue in which the true encounter with the other, with the way Orthodox Church understands Christ and God, remains an utopian aim. His epistemology needs a special kind of kenosis, a humbleness of the author and of his thinking, in order to acquire a necessary shift of perspective, in order to see through the eyes of faith. In the absence of this epistemological kenosis, faith is only a desire, a tragic state suspended between indecision and decision, between reason and feeling.

Pr. Dr. Mihai IORDACHE — Familia creștină în gândirea Sfântului Ioan Gură de Aur

Summary: Family in the view of St John Chrysostom

To Saint John Chrysostom, harmony between spouses is of paramount importance in family life, both for spouses’ consensus and for the children’s tranquility and education. Marital harmony is essential, as it creates order, peace and serenity regardless of the number or nature of the challenges and problems that may arise. Lack of mutual understanding is detrimental to the concerns and duties of married life, even if no exterior challenges appear. In such case, any disagreement or dissatisfaction in family life is gradually amplified and ultimately results in deep estrangement of the spouses. When harmony is present, all other elements in marital life find a balance and run their natural course. Bodily union of man and wife is based on their spiritual union, their agreement in thinking and feeling alike, their convergence in the mystery of mutual love.

Criticism jeopardizes family bonds and ties with persons outside the family, because they undermine a valuable sentiment – trust. In today’s hyper-tech­no­logized, consumerist society, most families are challenged by criticism about all things – ranging from very important to inconsequential ones.

In marital life, attention is constantly needed, especially in order to avoid sinning and to acquire virtues. Saint John Chrysostom points out that it is very important to keep the faith and be aware of the mistakes made by those around us, and of the temptation to imitate them by committing the same mistakes. Distraction, or lack of awareness, is one of the greatest dangers of everyday life and one of the major challenges of today’s man, affecting marital life among others. Regrettably, our attention is much distracted today by digital technology and by the entertainment constantly available at work, at home, on car rides, in the street, on holidays, everywhere. Man has a limited attention span and, once it is seized by the temptations of modern technology, one can hardly regain the focus and cognitive abilities needed for the urgent family tasks. A husband’s attention to his wife should be constant, in both important matters and apparently unimportant, everyday ones, which however may prove highly impactful.

The prayers included in the Holy Matrimony service stress an important aspect of marital unity: a man should detach himself from his parents and his birth family, in order to unite himself to his wife and commit himself to his new family life. There are frequent instances where a spouse’s parents interfere to the detriment of the newly-established family, giving rise to inhibitions, resentment or frustration.

The Church teaches that the family should be led by the man, in its general pursuits and the major projects envisaged. Being the head of a family presupposes constant concern with doing what is right and following virtuous ways, avoiding sins and passions, offering help and support, ensuring the unity, stability and progress of the family – that is, permanent preoccupation with the family wellbeing. According to Saint John Chrysostom, God has however entrusted the care for the household to the woman, endowing her with love for beauty, order, common sense and taste – essential factors in caring for the family home.

An important element of Christian marital unity is the mutual esteem and appreciation of the spouses, accompanied by constant encouragement and respect. Mutual appreciation brings about tranquility and stability in a marriage and allow the spouses to focus on their main interests. According to the Antiochian Father, spouses owe each other special esteem and respect, admiring the person of the other and valuing good intentions and achievements.

Marriage requires much tact and wisdom in choosing the appropriate times for shaping one another. Forming character and especially correcting flaws or errors cannot be done easily, but with great care and attention and, very importantly, when the other’s disposition favors such “intervention”.

Disagreement often appears in the family over unintentional offenses from the part of one spouse, because of anger or physical and psychological exhaustion. The man’s role as family head is manifest in the tolerance and wisdom necessary to understand and interpret each situation, aiming to ensure family and find peace and harmony.

The Church teaches that violence is never beneficial to marital life, under any circumstance or in any shape and form, be it physical or verbal, psychological or emotional. Aggressive attitudes of any kind indicate the loss of love in a spouse’s soul.

Through family life, God offers us incredible opportunities which we must be aware of, appreciate and act on. The greatest such opportunity is being co-creators with Him, in eternity. The children born in the family and raised in the faith, children whose character is shaped through parental guidance, are called to become heirs and partakers of eternal life, not only of the joys and goods of this world.

The joy experienced in marriage is endless and motivating. It can be acquired in many ways, including the sacrifice for the sake of the loved ones, or by offering moral support, and therefore it never ceases but is constantly enhanced and amplified.

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