How Can Monasticism Help Marriage?

"Love as a Gift of Self: Call to Holiness in Christian Marriage in the Light of Eastern Monasticism" - talk by Rev. Dr. Yosyp Veresh (ITI, ECS)

On October 24-25, 2014, Rev. Dr. Yosyp Veresh, Director of the Centre of Eastern Christian Studies (ECS) at the ITI was invited to speak at the international conference, “The Family Institution: Identity, Sovereignty, Social Dimension” held at the Greek-Catholic Theological Faculty, University of Presov, in Slovakia. The conference was organized to commemorate the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Letter to Families from St. John Paul II Gratissimam Sane. 

At the conference, Fr. Yosyp delivered a talk entitled, "Love as a Gift of Self: Call to Holiness in Christian Marriage in the Light of Eastern Monasticism", where he explained some fundamental and characteristic values of spiritual life  in the monastic koinonia to see how they could be applied to the communio personarum in Christian marriage. This led to a discussion of the inner discipline of love, as a gift of self, in the context of the eschatological dimension of Christianity.  A monk through his life of monastic chastity already points to the eschatological reality here on earth.  Married couples are also invited to participate in this reality by living an inner discipline of love in the practice of conjugal chastity.  

As Fr. Yosyp explained,

To those who live out their Christian perfection in marriage, St. Paul counsels the practice of a temporal abstinence from conjugal life for a certain period of time, by mutual agreement and for the sake of deeper devotion to prayer (1 Cor 7:5). In so doing, the spouses will not only increase their charity to God and to each other, but in a certain way they will realize, though in a less perfect mode, the ideal of Christian chastity lived out in monastic state, pointing thus to the “eschatological fulfillment of the nuptial meaning of the body (Pope St. John Paul II, Theology of the Body, p. 244).”


Perhaps in our times of strong secularization and liberalization, there is a need to re-emphasize the importance of continence in the spiritual life of Christian spouses. We believe that it is this eschatological reality that should inspire those who work in the pastoral care for marriage and family to look for authentic means of support for Christian spouses and their families in their call to holiness.”