Marriage in the Year of Faith

25 Jul

Holiness rises above the cloudiness of stress and confusion. A holy marriage rises above the misconceptions about love and family. Society today needs the solid witness of good marriages and families.

“In rediscovering (Christ’s) love day by day, the missionary commitment of believers attains force and vigour that can never fade away. Faith … makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness: indeed it opens the hearts and minds of those who listen to respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples.” (Pope Benedict XVI, “Porta Fidei,” No. 7.)

Marriage is rooted in that agape love of Christ and his disciples; it is given to man and woman for personal sanctification and for providing a safe place for their children (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, No. 11, Vatican Council II).

But is it not more? How can sacramental marriage impact our Year of Faith?

St. Paul teaches that the love of husband and wife mirror the love of Christ and his Church. The wife submits in all things. She dies to self; she submits to the marriage all that she is, has and desires, out of love, to their holy union. The husband does no less. He dies to self so that his wife made be made holy – as Christ died for the Church. The priest shortage rightfully prompts us to pray for vocations to the priesthood. However, with so many marriages “on the rocks,” I don’t sense the same anxious concern over the shortage of successful, fruitful and productive marriages. And we need such marriages for the successful mission of the Church. (Ephesians 5:21-30).

That’s the key, I think: We must see married people and their families as essential to the mission of the Church.

A holy married couple is a Eucharistic presence in the world. They mirror the passion of Christ for the salvation of the world. Theirs is a sacrament of service – caring for their own, but enfolding friends, neighbors and needy people in their familial embrace. They provide witness to the Christian meaning of hospitality (to make a safe place) ; they embody sacrificial love; they live for one another and their children – but they live also for the world and in the world where their faith can have a tremendous impact.

Marriage brings together into one flesh, mind, heart and spirit two committed disciples of Christ. Two lay people, made one in Christ, who are “to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the world.” … “They fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, ‘that is the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 900 and 905.)

Marriage is indeed a missionary, Eucharistic and evangelizing force for the Church’s mission – and, therefore, an important consideration in our Year of Faith


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