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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

401

1604

God who created man out of love also calls him to love—

the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For

man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself

love.

90

Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love

becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which

God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. And

this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be

realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God

blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and

fill the earth and subdue it.’”

91

1605

Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created

for one another: “It is not good that the man should be alone.”

92

The woman, “flesh of his flesh,” his equal, his nearest in all things,

is given to him by God as a “helpmate”; she thus represents God

from whom comes our help.

93

“Therefore a man leaves his father

and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one

flesh.”

94

The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable

union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator

had been “in the beginning”: “So they are no longer two, but one

flesh.”

95

Marriage under the regime of sin

1606

Every man experiences evil around him and within him-

self. This experience makes itself felt in the relationships between

man and woman. Their union has always been threatened by

discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts

that can escalate into hatred and separation. This disorder can

manifest itself more or less acutely, and can be more or less over-

come according to the circumstances of cultures, eras, and indi-

viduals, but it does seem to have a universal character.

1607

According to faith the disorder we notice so painfully does

not stem from the

nature

of man and woman, nor from the nature

of their relations, but from

sin.

As a break with God, the first sin

had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion

between man and woman. Their relations were distorted by mu­

tual recriminations;

96

their mutual attraction, the Creator’s own

90 Cf.

Gen

1:27;

1 Jn

4:8, 16.

91

Gen

1:28; cf. 1:31.

92

Gen

2:18.

93 Cf.

Gen

2:18-25.

94

Gen

2:24.

95

Mt

19:6.

96 Cf.

Gen

3:12.

355

372

1614

1849

400