Holy Matrimony
Fr. Ed Benioff - Added on Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Holy Matrimony: A First-Class Christian Life


If you’re married — or if you plan to be married some day — you should know the awesome dignity of your calling.


First, you should know that it is indeed a calling. Marriage is a vocation every bit as much as priesthood is, or the vocation to be a religious sister or a monk. God creates each of us and then calls us to the particular path of life that will perfect us. Most people receive the call to marriage and family life.


Marriage isn’t the same as mating. Men and women aren’t mere animals. It’s our spiritual component — our likeness to God — that makes true love possible. This is the idea that makes love songs work, and love poems, and love letters.


The Catholic Church holds to the time-honored notion that God has a plan for each of us, a heavenly destiny, a true share in his own divine life. And human love, the mutual love of a man and a woman, is a divinely chosen expression of heaven’s plan.


The Catholic Church looks to marriage as something holy, one of the privileged signs of God’s presence and action in the world. Marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the Church. These special rites were established by Jesus and entrusted to the Church as the ordinary means of salvation for human beings. In the Catholic view of things, marriage keeps some powerful company.


So the Scriptures say: “Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4).


Saint Paul taught that marriage was created to be a sign of God’s everlasting love for the Church (see Ephesians 5:31-32). He told Saint Timothy that the rejection of marriage was an unmistakable sign of bad faith (see 1 Timothy 4:3).


All of this requires a healthy view of marriage, consistent with the definition that has been held by Jews and Christians for millennia. Marriage is the permanent and indissoluble bond between one man and one woman; it is open to the procreation of children.


This is marriage as we find it in the inspired Word of God. The Bible begins with the story of a marriage — the creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-2) — and it ends with the “wedding day of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7). In between, we read of “a wedding in Cana in Galilee,” where “the mother of Jesus was there,” and “Jesus and his disciples were also invited” (John 2:1-2).


And there we catch a glimpse of Christian marriage. The wedding is a cause for celebration, because two lives have been joined as one. Jesus is ever-present in the marriage, and so is his mother, and so is the Church.


God will give us the grace we need to make a lasting love — to live sacrificially and love faithfully, as he himself lives and loves. He wants every married couple to be a sign of his bond with the Church, a living promise of his faithfulness.


Let marriage be honored. Let true love be enjoyed. That’s the Gospel truth.

comments powered by Disqus