Marriage as an institution faces many challenges today. This
volume presents essential wisdom from the 2000 year-old Christian
tradition that is as true and valuable today as it always was. The
readings present positive resources for understanding the sacrament
of marriage as a beautiful and sacred Christian vocation, a context
in which difficult times can be worked through with grace. Marriage
also involves family, even if the couple has no children. In
marrying a spouse, one marries his or her whole family. The
readings embrace family life as well.
Levering introduces historically arranged texts from Christian saints and spiritual leaders describing the nature and value of marriage, offering counsel about how to live out marriage as part of a life of faith, or depicting their own experience of family life.
This volume has much to offer married couples, people preparing for marriage, and classroom study of marriage and family.
Chapter 1 Hermas
Chapter 2 St. Clement of Alexandria
Chapter 3 Tertullian
Chapter 4 St. Gregory of Nazianzus
Chapter 5 St. Gregory of Nyssa
Chapter 6 St. Augustine
Chapter 7 Hugh of St. Victor
Chapter 8 St. Thomas Aquinas
Chapter 9 St. Birgitta of Sweden
Chapter 10 St. Thomas More
Chapter 11 St. Teresa of Avila
Chapter 12 St. Jane de Chantal
Chapter 13 The Second Vatican Council
Chapter 14 Pope John Paul II
Chapter 15 Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
There is hardly a more important lesson for Christian families than to see how the ways of Christ with his bride, the ways of God with his adopted children, are written into the relations of the "domestic church," and Levering's collection of texts seems calculated to show us how grace both preserves and elevates married and family life. It is remarkable, too, that both ancient and modern, the voices assembled here sound in an astonishingly harmonious chorus.
Much of the nonsense written about Catholic marriage by recent writers will be disspelled by this well-designed anthology. From 2,000 years of Catholic writing on marriage, Matthew Levering has shrewdly selected passages that shed light on what he calls a "radically beautiful" invitation to self-giving on the part of husbands and wives. Levering is particularly good at distinguishing the real thing from the sort of fraudulent substitutes harpooned so well in literary works since at least the time of Chaucer.
Levering's book demonstrates the clarity and continuity of Church teaching on sex and marriage, assembling the work of its most eloquent and able defenders from the second century to the present. On Marriage and Family is a timely and authoritative resource that uncovers new riches for scholars while remaining accessible to a general audience.
A splendid little set of readings on marriage, family, and human sexuality.
As this engaging survey of twenty centuries of Christian thought shows us, marriage has been a central focus in the thought of Christians from the beginning, enlightening us about all aspects of living a Christian life.
Matthew Levering is associate professor of theology at Ave Maria College. He is author of On the Priesthood, On Death and Dying, and On Prayer and Contemplation.