Matrimony


 

 
The celebration of marriage dignifies with divine love
the solemn undertaking made by the spouses.

The requirements of Christian marriage are based on the fundamental principle of unity.  The changes in contemporary society, in a world in which the importance of spirituality is decreasing, make such a doctrine difficult to accept. This phenomenon seems to manifest itself in the fragility and instability of modern society, and people can quite often suffer disastrous effects from it in the private lives. In this way, the Church's message is often misunderstood, while what it tries to do is to serve the honor of God as well as the dignity of mankind.

All religions have, in one way or another, made the conjugal union sacred, for the mystery of life and of child-bearing generally inspires a sense of divinity. As a reaction against pagan practices, which were often degrading, the Judaeo-Christian Revelation gives matrimony a powerful symbolic dimension, for one of the most important currents that run through the Bible is that of the marriage between God and his People.

From the moment of their creation, a man and a woman, united in life, form together an image of God; the man leaves his father and his mother to join himself with his wife, and they become one flesh. [Gn. 1:27; 2:24] Moses went to Egypt to fetch the People of God, like a fiancée, and lead them through the desert to Sinai, the mountain of their nuptial Covenant with Yahweh. The Song of Songs chants the mutual love of Yahweh and Israel. Finally, the New Testament reveals that Jesus is the Bridegroom of the new People of God, the Church.

Christian matrimony is the sacramental sign of that union between Christ and his Church. According to the teaching of Saint Paul: "This mystery has great significance, but I am applying it to Christ and the Church." (Ephesians 5:32). The spouses who exchange their vows before God and in front of the minister who represents him - and who blesses the couple in his role as a sacramental witness, according to the ancient rules which were codified in the sixteenth century by the Council of Trent - participate in the fullness of this holy unity.

The spouses are said to give themselves the sacrament of matrimony; indeed, their mutual "yes" given one to the other in their human love is the sign and instrument of that very love which God bears for them. Those that live out the joy and depth of love realize that the force which moves them also inspires them. It comes from outside them and leads them to excel themselves. For them, it can be a true revelation of divine love, which nourishes their mutual feeling and guarantees its permanence.

The Prodigal God
A Story Of Two Brothers
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