Growing in Conjugal Love
120. Our reflection on Saint Paul's hymn to love has prepared us to discuss conjugal love. This is the love between a husband and wife,115 a love sanctified, enriched and illuminated by the grace of the sacrament of marriage. It is an "affective union",116 spiritual and sacrificial, which combines the warmth of friendship and erotic passion, and endures long after emotions and passion subside. Pope Pius XI taught that this love permeates the duties of married life and enjoys pride of place.117 Infused by the Holy Spirit, this powerful love is a reflection of the unbroken covenant between Christ and humanity that culminated in his self-sacrifice on the cross. "The Spirit which the Lord pours forth gives a new heart and renders man and woman capable of loving one another as Christ loved us. Conjugal love reaches that fullness to which it is interiorly ordained: conjugal charity."118
116 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II, q. 27, art. 2
117 Encyclical Letter Casti Connubii (31 December 1930): AAS 22 (1930), 547-548.
118 John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (22 November 1981) 13: AAS 74 (1982), 94.
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