What is a Christian Marriage?
October 3, 2014
What is a Christian Marriage?
The Savior Sanctifies Christian Marriage at Cana and performs His first Public Miracle by changing Water into Wine
I think it is an appropriate time to take a pause on catechesis of the Apostle’s Creed and look at what is a Christian marriage ; let us look at what the Church’s “constant and very firm teaching” is concerning the Sacrament of Marriage. The Third Extraordinary General assembly of the Synod of Bishops is scheduled to take place in Rome from October 5-19. The theme is The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in Context of Evangelization. I received a letter this week from our International Director of the Marian Catechist Apostolate, His Emminence Cardinal Raymond Burke, who will be presenting at the Synod. He asks all members of the Apostolate, and all the faithful for our daily prayers, especially during the time of the Synod. Here is what His Emminence asks of us in the letter,” As you well know, the understanding of marriage and the family as the foundation and the first cell of the life of society and of the Church is under siege in our society. I ask you to pray daily, for the duration of the Synod, the enclosed Chaplet of the Holy Face, asking that the Holy Spirit will inform the hearts and minds of all Synod participants, so that all the activities and deliberations of the Synod will reflect clearly the truth about marriage and the family.” So please, let us pray this Chaplet of the Holy Face together during the time of the Synod in Rome and please consider fasting also.
The resources I will be using for this post will all be doctrinal in nature. Their will be no interpretations or side-stepping what the Church teaches now, and has always taught. Do not be deceived my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, Catholic Dogma is based In Divine Revelation and cannot change. Yes, doctrine and dogma in certain circumstances can become clearer and more defined but the content remains unchangeable. God is unchangeable and so are His timeless teachings. For those who wish to read more on Christian Marriage and check my sources, please, I encourage you to do so.
First off, for those who do not know, a Sacrament is a sensible sign, instituted by Jesus Christ, which confers the grace it signifies. Or can be described as an outward sign, of an invisible grace. Literally, the word “sacrament” means something sacred. Every sacrament requires two elements, matter and form. In the case of marriage, the matter is the mutual consent given freely by the man and woman to be married. The form of the sacrament consists in their expression of mutual consent to take each other. A marriage becomes a sacrament when contracted by a baptized man and a baptized woman. It is that simple actually. Once consent is given by both parties to one another, they confer the sacrament themselves. However, the priest, bishop or deacon is an indispensable witness to be sure. This is a very important note to any and all baptized Catholics ; unless dispensed by the bishop, a Catholic must marry before a duly authorized priest and two witnesses. Now, for all those who love those weddings on the beach in the Caribbean. This doesn’t mean you are not married or that it is invalid. But its best just to talk to your priest or bishop and make sure everything is on the up and up. Best case scenario is always to get married in a Catholic Church. You can go to the Caribbean afterwards!
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it is in Article 7, 1601 First, here is what the Catechism states, 1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament. ” Now, what is this covenant? A covenant is a sacred, unbreakable bond between a person or persons , made directly with God. It is different than a contract, a contract is usually an exchange of goods or services for money. A covenant is an exchange of persons, in this case, the husband and wife, with God Himself. These two become one with one another and are united to God Himself. Like I stated before, you cannot break covenant with Almighty, Infinite God. The covenant is binding, even if the state says differently. God is the author of marriage, not the state.
I think it is important to understand the actual purpose of marriage. Some people, a lot of people, Catholics included, may believe that marriage is about personal satisfaction and happiness ,or even collecting more stuff. What can the other person do for me, what is in it for moi? I assure you, this is where the western secularized world has gone very wrong. If I could use three words to describe marriage, they would be self-giving love, or self-giving sacrifice. Love and sacrifice are synonymous, they are interchangeable. True love is actually not an emotion, true love is in the will. By its very nature, the institution of marriage and married love is for the procreation and education of the offspring (children) CIC 1013 Par 1. In Matthew Chapter 19, Jesus explicitly states,” Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” You just cannot get past our Lords Word.
As a married Catholic, I have access to a tremendous treasury of supernatural grace that I can call upon due to this most awesome sacrament. Sometimes, I do have to call upon these graces to get through the hurdles that life seems to throw at me. I also need to remember those beautiful words that St Paul left for us and remember that it isn’t about me and my wants, in Ephesians Chapter 5 St Paul states very clearly ”  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: ” How easy it is to forget, that as a husband, I have been called by Jesus Christ to love my wife like He loves the Church. What an awesome calling we have as Christian husbands and fathers! St Augustine used to refer to the fathers he preached to as his ” fellow Bishops“. Now, lets not let that one get out of control and go to our heads gentlemen lol. I have tried that one with my wife, and it doesn’t always go over so well. When I tell my wife that I am speaking as the “domestic Bishop”, she usually just rolls her eyes. But seriously, this is our calling as husbands ; to lead or Shepard our little domestic Church or flock, to heaven. It isn’t about BMW’s, or big fancy houses. All that stuff is nice, but anything that distracts us from getting our family to heaven needs to be taking a backseat. It is ok to own “stuff” but don’t let that “stuff” own you. We are called to raise little Saints and lead our family to the Heavenly Gates!
So, a couple more facts about marriage. Naturally, marriage can only be between a man and a woman. In the first Chapter of Genesis,”  And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.  And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. ” Also from the Catechism once again speaks of the marriage bond and its indissolubility here ” 1640 Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God’s fidelity. the Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom.” This is our Catholic teaching, given to us from God, Divinely revealed through Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. No human power, not even the Pope with the Bishops can undo what God has fixed as a sure thing!
Please, we need to pray and fast more than ever for our Holy Father Pope Francis, our Cardinals, Bishops and priests. Surely satan is trying to wreak havoc and do what he does best, create confusion. Have faith in Jesus Christ and our Divinely revealed deposit of faith guarded in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Lets keep our eyes on the Cross of our Lord and not be distracted by the wolves dressed as sheep. Our teachings are secure, they cannot and will not change.
Our responsibility as Catholics to Christian marriage, is to teach it, preach it, and most importantly, live it. Everyday of our lives, we are to be witnesses of the Gospel in our Christian marriages, inside the home and outside also. . This would be next to impossible without the sacramental grace that comes with marriage, and the rest of the sacraments.The sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and frequent confession are necessary to fully live out our vocations as husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers. Yes, this is our vocation, for those of us who are married. Our ticket to heaven is our husband or wife and children, that is for sure! I am most certain that if I get to meet God one day, God willing, that a big part of that meeting will be about how I treated my wife and children. Did I try and love my wife and family, like Christ loved the Church? A good part of the pagan world converted as a direct result of the witness given by Christian married couples in the early centuries. We need to do this again, today, as in NOW, it is never to late, until it is to late!
May Almighty God protect us from the World, the devil, and ourselves!