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We are planning, under the Church's guidance, the development, practice and sharing of our founder’s proposed pro-unity, cognitive-empathy and Eucharist-centered Catholic Family Spirituality, enriched by a broad spousal relational concept and methodology (partially applicable even to non-Christians) that he named "Conjugality Spirituality" and wrote about it in 1988. To learn more, please read the following heavy summary that he wrote, translating from Portuguese, thereby forcing some words or expressions under quotes to carry a special meaning or to have minor variations. Therefore, slow or double-reading necessary over inevitable complementary parenthesis or challenging segments.
BASIC KEYWORDS AND TERMINOLOGY
Conjugality: I coined it as a noun, from the adjective 'conjugal'. Etymologically, ‘Conjugality’ literally means 'shared-yoke-path' (con+jugo+ity = shared+yoke+process). The Conjugality Spirituality is a Mystical and Trinitarian kind of pro-unity, cognitive-empathy and Eucharist-centered Catholic Family Spirituality, enriched by a broad spousal relational concept and methodology (See §1).
Unilateral Conjugality: (See §1,6 & 8)
Indirect Prayer/Indirect Love: They are the essential Conjugality “way” to pray for and love family members and close relatives (See §2,7 & 13)
Biologic-primacy & Respect + Non-reciprocal:
The pre-required applied Conjugality level one, the minimum level, starting the upper sequences…(See § 2,6,7 & 9).
“Tree” & “Fruit”: (See § 3,4 & 17)
“supra-instinctive” Vocation: (See §3)
Domestic Church: (See §3,4 & 17)
Divine Orchard's “Parcel”: (See §4)
Male OR Female Conjugality: (See §5)
Christian Holy Marriage Covenant (See §5)
Parallel Conjugality: (See § 6 & 7)
Spiritual “abortion”: (See § 8)
“Third Person”: (See § 11 & 16)
“ConjuCouple”: (See § 12 & 16)
Couple’s “Conjugality-parents”: (See § 13)
Spouse’s “exchange & replace of…”: (See § 13)
Didactic Competition of Love: (See § 13)
“Reversal” (reciprocated) Indirect-Prayer: (See §14)
The five “Ms” perfect Conjugality: (See §16)
Mysterious Mystical-Marriage Matrimonial Matter
Third Conjugal Person (ConjuCouple): A Third Conjugal Person (3rd-CPerson = ConJuCouple) is more than a virtual person or couple partnership. It is a new spiritual but real single entity: The Couple. It is a mystical person that emerges from deep conjugal unity between husband and wife, Mr. & Ms. "One", after sacramental matrimony, in deep communion with Jesus among the spouses (including spiritual marriage), to the point of becoming a “third conjugal person”: The Couple, optionally called "ConjuCouple".
1. The Conjugality Spirituality is a Catholic Trinitarian kind of pro-unity Spirituality and relational Methodology that applies to natural marriages, sacramental marriages and mystical marriages, promoting and supporting transitional steps from lower levels to highest possible level of holiness. Ideally but not indispensably a reciprocal practical spirituality. Practicing Conjugality, therefore, is even possible for single mothers living a ‘unilateral’, at least vicarious, but still valid 'female Conjugality’, not a mere 'jugality' ('jugo+ity'= yoke+process) as a higher vocation than maternity (or paternity), and the only way – in a deep understanding – to excel and perfect motherhood and fatherhood to the highest possible level of holiness, including spiritual Conjugality for consecrated religious people.
2. Conjugality starts with primacy and respect for the ‘conjuge’ (spouse), going up to mystical communion or even “sublimation” (e.g. St. Joseph), only surpassed by the Divine Paternity; therefore, even greater than human paternity. However, for that prerequisite level, which is primacy and respect, whether the 'conjuge' is worthy is irrelevant if already a parent, since respect is due even to enemies, mandated by God, much more so towards the co-creator of any child. Therefore, I'm convinced that whenever children come first in what I call ‘direct prayers’, parents are missing a better and almost infallible way to bless their children through ‘indirect prayers’ (one of several practical consequences from the first level of applied Conjugality), which must include or pass through the spouse.
3. Likewise the important distinctions between the institution of Natural Marriage, the Sacrament of Matrimony and the traditional Family community, I hope future generations will clearly distinguish and better understand that both biologically and spiritually authentic maternity and paternity are ‘Fruits’ with capital ‘F’, but still only fruit, never the tree. Priceless Fruits indeed (among others mysterious fruits) but not ‘The Tree’. Fruits that should mature into rich motherhood and fatherhood, without being pulled off the tree until fully ripe, even by a bitter divorce. Natural Conjugality (=1Male+1Female) isthe ‘Tree’, and a kind of ‘supra-instinctive’ real Vocation (“instinct-consciousness” would be an oxymoron). In other words, the excellence of parenthood. And, since any ‘Tree’ depends on its roots -God-, Christian sacramental Conjugality -Catholic Matrimony- is the healthiest, the sweetest, the holiest, the most fruitful ‘Conjugal Tree’ (not to be confused with ‘Domestic-Church’) for any couple seeking to become permanently blessed in the Holy Spirit, just because Jesus Christ will then be the indestructible ‘Root’.
4. Afterward, a ‘Domestic-Church’ should develop from a devout family into a deeper interdependent communion within a diocese, often a local parish. Therefore, a ‘Domestic-Church’ is like a Divine Orchard's ‘Premium-Parcel,’ carefully protected and granted exclusively for eachGrafter-surgeon's masterpiece, always grafted as a male+female unique and priceless Fruit-Tree, adorned by its own colorful garden, full of flowers, birds and perfumes: that's a blessed family, par excellence, whether a domestic or religious community! Nevertheless, to get there, it is the ‘tree’, not the family (a garden with just one ‘fruit-tree’), which is the source of human life and all other additional precious life-nurturing fruits, such as warm homey protection, security, safety, plenty, etc.; an anointing kind of Love, proud transmission of the Faith, prayers (simple, meaningful, powerful, joyful), lifetime bonding, inspirational attraction, respect, authority, tenderness, education, communication, true hope, enduring joy, deep peace, etc. Also, a powerful antidote against the hidden curse of a pandemically radical “maternalism” and “paternalism,” cowardly parental alienation, hostile parenting, etc., which is not only the degeneration of parenthood but also a form of child abuse.
5. Moreover, I would like to emphasize that Conjugality does not exist and cannot exist in abstraction, only embodied in the two sexes: ‘Male-Conjugality’ or ‘Female-Conjugality’. They are binary and absolutely inseparable. Only after a conscientious 'investment' starts to improve the quality and power of its own male or female God-given condition, then male and female Conjugality can follow a deeply distinct male or female Conjugality path, beyond bodies, into the level of souls. Together they can grow and rejoice in their paths, looking towards or in relation to complementarity where 1+1 is much more than 2 and even more than the dignity of one if alone, so-to-speak. Therefore, each one can freely become able to aim for a total gift of self, out of deep love, within a “Christian Holy Marriage Covenant”. This is the keyword because it implies a monogamic, indissoluble, exclusive, faithful, and mutual “belonging” between two mature and free persons of opposite sex open to human life aided by nature and Grace. One might posit a similarity to the laws of magnetism: electrical like-charges repel each other, while unlike charges attract each other (south+south=repel, north+north=repel, but north+south= bingo! They bind). Therefore, Male-Conjugality is a “single-entity” that always relates and combines with a single Female-Conjugality distinct complementary “entity” and vice-versa; this is also valid for supernatural relationships with living organisms, like the “Mother Church”, a real mystical wife of Jesus Christ.
6. 'Parallel and/or Unilateral Conjugality’: Regarding the potential pastoral non-applicability of Conjugality as a vocation in these tragic times of divorce and single parenthood, I would like to state that: Since human life is a co-creation between God and the parents, a ‘parallel Conjugality’ is not only possible but necessary, due to any conjuge (former or separated spouse, co-parent, etc.) for a lifetime, at least on the first-level (‘primacy and respect’), for the sake of the child. In other words, let's suppose a woman had her first child during teenage years, from a fleeting relationship, and is subsequently raising that child in holy matrimony, already enjoying – let us assume it – the fullness of Conjugality (mystical sacramental communion) with a different man. Under such circumstances, that highest level is only possible if ‘parallel Conjugality’ (unilateral or not) is present when the mother assumes a lifetime first-level (primacy and respect) ‘parallel Conjugality’ strictly related to her first child, under the explicit and active support of her current husband. And not only that, but the husband – as an adoptive father – must love that child as a biological father should, and above all love that child on behalf of the natural father (hopefully after reaching out to him, to attempt a merciful and even fraternal relationship, according to the Golden Rule, explicitly asking the latter for the honor to become an adoptive father, with his blessing).
7. The biological father should learn as soon as possible that both the current adoptive father, and especially the mother, will faithfully include, for a lifetime, implicitly or explicitly, under that ‘parallel’ Conjugality, the person and primacy of the natural father, hopefully as a brother in Christ; whenever she prays for her first child, making/doing what I've called, ‘Conjugality indirect-prayer/indirect-love’, which is a holier, more powerful love, especially if unconditional. However, in all cases like this, she (or he, accordingly) must also include her husband with the biological father in the same prayer, if the adoptive father is the 'real' father for all intents and purposes, like St. Joseph – especially if fulfilling the highest paternity duty, which is to help the child grow in holiness unto Heaven. The key purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to help us replace our heart of stone with a heart of flesh; to provide opportunities – sometimes painful – for the 'enlargement' of our 'hearts', since our source of peace and power is a kind and humble heart, like the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
8. Only someone that does not 'know' God would dare to expect that He would answer in the same powerful way a prayer from a father, in favor of his own child, if he conscientiously refuses to include the mother of that child in his prayers, at the very least, and vice-versa. Indifference, not hate, is the real opposite of Love, which therefore hurts God the most, and deeply offends Him. In the worst-case scenario, instead of implicitly refusing to pray for, it would be better for a parent even to ask God for justice in this life, since then, eventual Divine sentence (wherever sanction), if granted, would carry a term, an implicit limit (upon conversion), unlike the mortal sin of grave indifference (spiritual ‘abortion’) which regularly becomes a practical ‘death’ sentence. If irreversible for a lifetime, such cruel act of hate will also destroy the fullness of life in the child which in my opinion is impossible for him to reach, without at least some kind of unconscious ‘unilateral Conjugality’, even without physical contacts, from the part of the parent who loves the most and care for that child. (As a lesser of two goods, so-to-speak, in the sense that, ideally, every child needs both a mom and a dad, but at least one parent is better than none).
9. Deep inside, 'hardwired' by God, children intuitively do not really care when moms just keep saying that they love them, and dads swear to 'adore' each and every child like they often say they do. Children's souls somehow unconsciously perceive if they are rooted in truth or not, precisely by the quality of the Conjugality, visible or not, between mom and dad (if any! nowadays). Therefore, what radically matters and sustains children's healthy growth and self-confidence, although on semiconscious and unconscious levels, is when they personally and surely know with their whole being, that mom really loves my dad, and dad really loves my mom. This is an extremely critical factor. It is so important that, if nonexistent, at least in its most minimum level ('biologic-primacy, respect, non-reciprocal’), a child's life, even at teen ages, will only experience a more mature life (ordinarily* speaking), especially a better Christian life, aftera flow of new supernatural healing and power (new graces) comes from the mystery and merits of human Conjugality applied to prayers and relationships, due to God's Natural and Supernatural Laws.
10. *Disclaimer regarding the “ordinarily speaking” emphatic qualification, above: I am personally convinced that (nihil obstat, but not a Church's Teaching), even if abundant, such similar or equivalent foundational graces necessaries for conversion, plus sanctifying breakthrough graces other than originated from conjugal prayers are not ordinary, but an extraordinary supplementary manifestation of the pure mercy of God, due to our immense blindness in this regard. Definitively, Conjugality is not a mere human technique, but a mystery with supernatural fruits, a largely invisible Divine gift that can only be exercised – conscientiously or not – with the Holy Spirit, in the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Spirit.
11. Therefore, it is possible for non-Catholics to partially exercise it, but impossible to be lived in its fullness without full communion with the Church founded by Christ, because the essential and frequent Eucharistic communion, source and summit of their Unity, will be deeply dependent on the authenticity of the sacrament of matrimony and their moral life, as married couples. Due to the Original Sin, the natural conjugal yoke is different and heavier than Christ's supernatural conjugal yoke. As another consequence from Pentecost, the Sacramental Conjugality is no longer a couple's shared yoke, but Christ's yoke shared with a kind of ‘Third Person’, which is a couple (human or mystical) composed of one male and one female, that “belong” to each other and are ready to die for the love of each other. I agree with a strong conviction that, in life, we have only two basic options: Suffer with Christ - meaningfully -or suffer much more, alone, without Christ. I also believe that this mysterious post-divine-incarnation reality (after Pentecost), apparently unfair for those who do not know Jesus Christ, applies even more to couples – any couple, every couple. Unfortunately, the word ‘couple’ when applied to marriages is becoming an empty word for what I am trying to imply in the context of this spirituality, even if capitalized under quotation marks.
12. There are millions of couples in the world under the negative balance, to say the least, hurting each other and some even using their children as a weapon. Therefore, I coined the word ‘ConJuCouple’ to better represent the richness of what I mean as a goal or ideal, which is a "Mysterious Mystical-Marriage Matrimonial Matter;" and also as an optional honor identity for those trying to raise up their marriage from the ocean of mediocre and superficial relationships, not to mention epidemic spousal abuse with all sorts of domestic violence. We are living in times of pseudo-couples, like married singles, many already "divorced", but sleeping in the same bed, living in the same house (not homes!), with children that frequently doesn't belong to both.
13. Throughout the years, this proposed pedagogical vision and spirituality path for a higher marriage vocation has proven to be a mother-lode of very practical pastoral arguments and insights, powerful enough to enlighten even bitter spiritual directees -by the hundreds- bringing deep healing plus a practical, step-by-step path of conversion from years of indifference and hate, to gradual Conjugality. And for some, passing through essential steps like the ‘Parent-child indirect-love’ step and the daughter-in-law vs. son-in-law's 'competition' of love step (Conjugality-parents), to excellence in Christian parenthood in a matter of weeks – even for 'single' parents. At higher levels, only possible under reciprocal Conjugality, the couple’s ‘Conjugality-parents’ ("replaced" father and mother), after mutual adoption, will “no longer” be the natural Mom and Dad, but firstly the father and mother in law. To be equally reciprocated by the spouse, under a kind of divine ‘competition’ of love and didactic adventure, gradually including all other in-laws’ relatives as if ‘exchanged & replaced’ uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters.
14. Many are the benefits for children ‘hardwired' to flourish better and thrive the most, if and when properly fed by a spiritual food that is virtually impossible to falsify. For example, since children are subconsciously thirsted to know and need to frequently confirm that 'mom really loves my dad' and vice-versa (that's the food I'm talking about), parents that already started to practice the Conjugality Spirituality can also guide their children (already under ‘Indirect Prayer’ mentioned above) to reciprocate a kind of ‘Reversal Indirect-Prayer.’ In doing so, they will strike a spiritual nerve powerful enough to generate a precious and gradual metamorphosis that catechesis alone would not be able to accomplish.
15. The Holy Spirit normally grants different graces and development phases according to the nature and quality of the spiritual resource available on a daily basis. If children freely chose to reciprocate their indirectly received prayers and are properly (according to age) invited to also pray back in the Conjugality-way, they should do so basically praying for their daddies and through their daddies, whenever they want to pray for their mothers with more 'results' so-to-speak, and pray for their moms and through their moms, when they want to strongly support their daddies (Likewise applicable in favor of grandparents). Essentially, daddy's implicit message of a proved conjugal unity (‘The Food’) adapted to each individual child/age, need to be very simple, such as: If you Truly want to pray for me, please do it first and through your beloved mom, to whom I belong to, because that would be the kind of prayer daddy would love the most, from you, my dearest son/daughter, also because you are a divine gift that your mother gave to me.
16.The major reason why God the Holy Spirit created the Sacrament of Matrimony (sacramental marriage) in The Church, is to become a visible sign to the world, of the incredible and indestructible Love Jesus Christ has for His Church. It is critically essential to first rescue the mystery and power of married couple unity (Matt.:19-6:So they are no longer two, but one flesh): 'The Couple', Mr. & Mrs. ‘One,’ aimed to become – if Christians – a ‘ConjuCouple’ so-to-speak, more than just a natural couple partnership, it is a new spiritual but real single entity, a kind of third virtual person that emerges from deep unity between husband and wife after sacramental matrimony, in deep communion with Jesus among the spouses (including spiritual marriage), to the point of becoming a feminine mystical person, in order to mystically and sacramentally engage the masculine person of Christ in five “Ms” perfect Conjugality: A Mysterious Mystical-Marriage Matrimonial Matter. Therefore, a sacred, solid, ‘sacramented’ Sanctuary. A rock without breach, an indestructible fortress.
17. I believe that in the same way the sacrament of Confirmation gives the power to their recipients to later freely assume or not to assume it’s fullness, through deep personal conversion and cooperation with Grace, which means to become an “incarnation” of such Sacrament, so-to-speak, therefore “no longer” bornt from blood or human will, but indeed born from God (John:1-13). Similarly, the Sacrament of Marriage gives the power to their recipients to later freely assume or not to assume it’s fullness, through deep personal conversion and cooperation with Grace, which means to become, likewise, an “incarnation” of such Sacrament of Marriage, so-to-speak. Therefore, through Conjugality spirituality, any couple married under the Sacrament of Matrimony can “become” the Sacrament, themselves: No longer the ‘same’ persons, no longer just two individual persons. United with Jesus in their midst, in the same proportion they succeed to build Unity to the point of becoming “One”, a kind of new and unique conjugal mystical person is bornt, also bringing built-in their identity, holiness and true freedom. That is the best 'Tree' for each future 'Domestic Church', when mothers (and fathers) then, automatically and silently 'say' to their children: 'Whenever you see me, you see your father'.
I am deeply certain also by experience, that Conjugal Pastoral Programs should precede Family Pastoral Programs and become the cornerstone of any smart Family Pastoral strategy seriously committed to results both in numbers and quality.
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Masculine and Feminine Conjugality, a Higher Vocation Christian Proposition
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"By this, all men will know that you are My disciples: If you have love for one another, as I have loved you." (John 13:34-35)
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