“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him. Unless a man, a human person experiences love, which is communion with another person, he or she remains an unanswered question. One cannot his or her life nor find meaning and purpose in life unless one experiences love and enters intimately into it. It is love that answers the questions: “Why am I here?”- “What is the meaning of my life?”- “What is the purpose of my life?”Love, communion with another person, is the key that unlocks the answers to those questions.
Why is this? It is because the very inner life of God is that. It is a communion of Persons, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in a perfect eternal communion of life and love. The very life of Heaven is that as well. It is a communion of persons, the communion of the Saints – which is why St. Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 13: “Love never fails.” Yes, genuine love, he wrote: “bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.” This is so, because love has an eternal quality about it – it is something of eternity – it is the very life of Heaven. “Love never fails.”
We all need God. We all need others. We cannot live without love, without communion with others, communion with the Persons of the Blessed Trinity and communion with others we come to know in this life. Our very bodies tell us that. They are incomplete. New life is not possible solo – except by technical intervention, which treats the human person as something to be manipulated – and which is not God’s plan for new life, which, in accord with human dignity, must come about through love.
New human life is to come about through two incomplete, but complimentary individuals, who through the mutual exchange of consent, both give themselves to each other and receive each other. Together they become complete. Genuine love always desires to be total and so they chose each other exclusively, in complete fidelity to one another, for the entirety of their lives – with openness to the new lives God may entrust to them. Again from St Paul from today’s Second Reading: “If I do not have love, I am nothing… If I do not have love, I gain nothing….Love never fails.”
Through the Sacrament of Matrimony is an unbreakable Sacramental bond that nothing (not even the Church) has the power to dissolve:
CCC 1639 The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself… Authentic married love is caught up into divine love.
CCC 1638 From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament.
To have a love that never fails, you will need Divine help, w is why it is so important to have the graces of the Sacrament of Marriage. The perfect love flowing from the open Heart of Jesus, which is the Source of the Sacramental graces in the Church, will make love more perfect. The joys of marriage give a little foretaste of the bliss of the Heavenly communion. The crosses purify love and give opportunities to prove love, so that the love may be made more perfect.
The Catechism has some beautiful words to about the Presence of Jesus at a wedding, the Wedding at Cana:
CCC 1613 On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign – at his mother’s request – during a wedding feast. The Church attaches great importance to Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence.
The Mass is the re-presentation of the offering Christ made for His Bride, the Church, and so the Church encourages couples to be married within the Holy Mass so that they may unite the offering of their lives with that of Christ who is Present at this Mass and Who’s self-gift and offering is also present.
Married couples are the ministers of the Sacrament of Matrimony to each other. The CCC states: “the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church.” They minister the Sacrament to each other which is why they are both first asked three questions to verify that they are free to minister the Sacrament to each other. Then in the exchange of their consent, the Sacrament of Marriage and the indissoluble bond between them is effected which will be consummated – completed in them becoming one body.
It is always a consolation and a joy to a priest when he prepares a couple for marriage who place great importance on their relationship with God and want their marriage to be in accord with God’s plan for marriage and the family.
Married couples are not enough for each other – but with the life of the Holy Spirit, the graces of the Sacrament of Matrimony and fidelity to prayer & the Sacraments – the love they have for each other will become richer, deeper and more genuine – and will show forth the beauty of the Gospel to a world that has lost its bearings and its faith. One of the most needed witnesses in the world today is for married couples to show forth the beauty of God’s plan for marriage and the family which leads to a flourishing of our individual, family & societal lives.
– Fr. Joseph Mary
4 thoughts on “The Sacrament of Matrimony”
I’ve been following a lot of EWTN’s NC Register, and I actually find some of the content – in a very subtle way – a bit Satanic (Satanic in the way St Peter was inspired by Satan when Jesus rebuked St Peter).
All my comments have been deleted from your site which I have a real issue with. 1) Because I’m a big supporter of St Francis and the Franciscans 2) Because I strongly believe in Orthodox Catholic teaching and a Strong Unified Church.
But on NC Register, there are many articles which are about rousing people to agitation NOT peace. About focusing on the things Pope Francis has got wrong instead of focusing more on the many things Pope Francis has got right. I could go on like I have done on your site in the past.
But I am determined to challenge NR Register, and have been doing so frequently ever since AN Vigano challenged the Pope to resign – which I believe was petulance and inspired by Satan to sew the seeds of despair and division in the Church (yes challenge the Church over any heresy / corruption – but NOT like this). And no saint has ever petitioned a Pope to resign. And many Popes in the past have said things in the spirit of heresy (although God will NEVER allow our Magisterium to be soiled by heresy). For example, Pope Gregory IX on homosexuals, ‘abominable persons despised by the world… more unclean than animals’ or the Popes who morally (although not legally) supported the violent deaths of heretics and schismatics. And far more.
I would be grateful if you could please look at many of NC Register’s articles and challenge where appropriate. Not in a confrontational way. But in a way that will hopefully demonstrate to them that they sometimes act more on behalf of Satan than Christ and the Catholic Church (even though NC Register’s approach is often very subtle in how they do this).
(And, yes, I agree there are lots of ‘liberal’ Catholic media outlets that are just as bad – but from a Liberal perspective – but you Friars are part of the Order that set up EWTN and that owns NC Register and so I believe you have a moral responsibility to view and vet content on NC Register).
Lastly, I believe that as Catholics we should be both Orthodox Catholic in our Faith and Unified as a Church. Neither Liberal or Conservative. I’m a BIG supporter of St John Paul II because I think he brilliantly sailed the Catholic Church between the Clashing Rocks of Liberalism and Conservatism. I believe that NC Register sometimes drags the Church right up to the Clashing Rocks of Conservatism (whilst others in the Church right now are doing the same with the Clashing Rocks of Liberalism). We have a duty to try and keep the ship safely away from both Clashing Rocks – like St John Paul II did so brilliantly (although not perfectly because he wasn’t God).
St Francis of Assisi and Mary Mother of Jesus: please pray for The Catholic Church.
Lord Jesus: please bless The Catholic Church.
(And I might be wrong – and happy to be challenged – but not going to be shut up as some have tried on NC Register in the comments without explaining why they think I’m wrong)