Week 4 – Lent with Jacinta: The “sins of selfishness”

“Many marriages are not good; they are not pleasing to Our Lord and are not good.” St. Jacinta Marto

What would make a marriage “not good?”   How are they not pleasing to Our Lord? 

Many of the problems of marriage stem from selfishness, an inability to live the sacrificial life that the marriage vocation calls for. Marriage calls one to greater love – a love that puts the other first. 

From the beginning of creation, God ordained a covenant relationship between the man and the woman, creating for Adam a “suitable partner” whom he called Eve, his wife. The love between the two produced new life, imaging the Communion of Persons in the Holy Trinity.   

Jesus directed the Pharisees to go back “to the beginning” in order to understand marriage as God instituted. “God made them male and female … and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mk 10:7-8).

Certainly if a marriage does not start from this premise, it would be one that is displeasing to God.  In the passage above, Jesus was specifically addressing the Pharisee’s question about divorce and the hardness of their hearts. But later, He explains to His apostles that if one divorces and marries another, he or she commits adultery. The Catechism of the Catholic Church points out a number of offenses against the dignity of the marriage covenant, including adultery, divorce, polygamy, free union, incest and other sins against chastity. (CCC 2380-2391)

Jesus taught people a greater understanding of marriage – as a binding contract of love between a man and a woman – while admonishing those who were failing to live by it:

In addition to calling out the Pharisees for their untenable view of the wife as someone who could be dismissed so casually, He also called the woman caught in adultery to repentance. As well, he called on the men who sought to stone her to repent of their own sins, which were quite possibly sins of the same nature.  

He exposed to the Samaritan woman her unholy lifestyle of living with a man that was not her husband, after having five previous husbands.  “…true worshipers must worship the Father in Spirit and in truth and indeed the Father seeks such persons to worship him” (Jn 4:23), he told her.  


God gave us the great Commandment to love Him above all else and to have no other gods or idols before Him, and the second greatest Commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.  The closest “neighbor” anyone can have is his or her own spouse. Therefore, it is good to review St. Paul’s great discourse on love (cf 1 Cor 13:1-13) and examine whether you demonstrate these characteristics in yourself and to your spouse.

Are you patient?  Are you kind?  Are you jealous, boastful or rude?  Do you seek only your own interests?  Are you quick-tempered?  Do you forgive easily or hold fast to grudges?  Are you truthful?  Do you rejoice over another’s wrongdoing or do you seek their conversion?

Love bears all – hopes always – endures all.  It never fails.  Love is ordered to the good of the other.  Ultimately, your love should be so great in marriage that you would lay down your life for your spouse.

St. Jacinta, you laid down your young life for marriages that would please God. Pray for us to have a greater understanding of God’s call for marriage. Help us to seek the truth of who we are and how we are living up to God’s commandments.

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  1. excellent article on marriage——

  2. I have just read this article. Our Blessed Mother’s words to St. Jacinta were enough to cut like a knife, but after reading the rest of the article tears flow freely from me. I was married once for twenty two years, a marriage that started “unpleasing” to God and ended worse. After divorce in the year 2010 Our Lord worked miracles in 2015. I have not been with a woman since, nor do I ever forsee doing so. To my dying breath my heart is married to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and His Mother’s Ever Immaculate Heart, undeserving sinner that I am. God bless all of you who are married, you are in my prayers always.

  3. I do not think it was an accident that Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding. Nor was it an accident that His Mother urged Him to do something. I take two lessons from this event. When something goes awry with a marriage, we should go to Mary and Jesus for help.. And when entering into marriage, we must be changed from water into wine, the wine of the Last Supper.

  4. A strong reminder for married couples. I believe we should also turn to St. Joseph for assistance in our marriages.

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