Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Theology

First Advisor

John Ries

Second Advisor

Chris Fuller

Third Advisor

Gillian Glaes

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to explore the sacrament of marriage as rooted in the development of the human person and the concept of otherness and reciprocity. This theological anthropology portrays marriage in light of the human person’s response to the ‘other’.* Furthermore, it depicts the Christian life as the pursuit of the otherness of God which is approached only through the emptying of oneself in order to be open to the remarkable presence of God and the ability of the human person to reflect that presence. In focusing on the anthropological perspective of marriage, I portray marriage as consistent with the Image and Likeness of God reflected by the human person in pursuit of true personhood. Anthropology deals with a compelling focus on the individual’s growth towards what it means to be the ultimate version of humanity. This ultimate version of the human being with the capacity to reflect God’s Image and Likeness is viewed by the Church as that which is reached in salvation. With this focus on the development of the human person, the application of anthropology assists with the theological explanation of personhood. The individual is understood to be in need of relationships to reach this potential which is not possible through development as an isolated being with no connection to others. Because theology offers respite in the face of questioning personhood, the Church continues to harbor insight for the pursuit of one’s true humanity. The Church seeks to draw individuals towards full unity with God. This unity becomes a pivotal reality of Church and personhood. This thesis examines the dynamic of salvation which exists in the very nature of Matrimony through the living commitment of spouses and the act of pouring themselves out as a response to the other. Matrimony allows for God to enter in as the couple is emptied of self-concern. In placing their focus beyond themselves, it allows for a state of openness to exist within the individual, allowing one to be drawn closer to God. It is this particular element of marriage which moves the Church to count Matrimony among the Sacraments as a sign of the Sacred which draws one to experience the Divine.

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