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God is the author of Marriage

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Marriage is a Sacrament and God himself is the author of marriage. “The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator.” (CCC 1603).  For those of you who know me well understand that I am a dreamer…I dream about God, I dream about life, I dream about love, I  dream about His purpose for my life, I dream about His marvelous intentions for all of us, I dream of perfection, I dream of living on a small farm with goats and sheep, I dream of life in Wyoming or Colorado… pushing cattle all day long,  I dream of glorifying God by the way I live my life, I dream of doing His will, I dream of receiving the sacraments side by side with my beloved, and… I dream and dream of being united with my beloved…undivided in flesh and spirit… my one true love  who is faithful and with God’s grace will ‘help m[at]e’ attain holiness.   A ‘helpmate’ who will walk beside me, respect me, honor me, understand me… and love me as Christ loved the Church. The Apostle Paul writes “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her, to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”  (Eph 5:25-27  NABRE).   A helpmate who seeks God’s will for his life and mine.  A helpmate who understands [our] fallen natures and the destruction of sin (a break from God) to [our] union and through his commitment to [US] leans on God’s grace.  The Catechism affirms that “after the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one’s own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving.” (CCC 1609). I know that the man God brings to me will recognize the need for God’s Grace to achieve the union God’s intends for us to have.   “By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to ‘receive’ the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life.” (CCC 1615). We both must follow Christ, deny ourselves, and take up our crosses…together.  My dear friend always says, “God’s plan is always best”.  We must trust and wait on Him.

Sacred Scripture tells us that man and woman were created by God for one another.  “The Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him.  So the Lord God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what we would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name.  The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a helper suited to the man.  So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  The Lord God then build the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman.  When he brought her to the man, the man said:  “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.”  (Gen. 2:18-23 NABRE).  The Catechism affirms that “God who created man out of love also calls him to love–the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.  For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love.  Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes.” (CCC 1604) .  One of my favorite verses of scripture and the heart of my blog is  “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.” (Gen. 1:31).  God loves man… and “this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to watch over creation.” (CCC 1604).  I never realized how powerful the word [mutual] was until a friend said to me one day…”Susan, what you are looking for is ‘mutuality’…mutual giving… respect and understanding.” I sat there very still without giving him a response…quietly realizing for the first time that he nailed the word I needed to hear which described what God intended for all of us.  A dot had been connected.  Let me just say that finding mutual love is very difficult to find in the condition of our world today;  if found,  it should be safeguarded because it is both precious and rare.  For those of you who found it…be grateful for He has blessed you.  I understand mutual love to mean a complete self-sacrificial,  self- giving of one’s whole self…mentally, spiritually and physically.  Jesus’ tells us “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NABRE).  Jesus lived out His word by laying down His life for us; showing us how intense, pure and true  His love was for us.  The Catechism states that “the consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself.  From their covenant arises an institution, confirmed by the divine law,…even in the eyes of society. The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God’s covenant with man: ‘ Authentic married love is caught up into divine love.’ ” ( CCC 1639).  The contributing authors of the Catechism of the Catholic Church have given us such a gift in their writings… divinely inspired, grounded in truth and beauty. I am very grateful to each and every one of them.

The Catechism has beautiful things to say about the Effects of The Sacrament of Matrimony.  I have copied paragraphs 1641 through 1657  (minus a few paragraphs) for you to read. When I first read the Article 7  The Sacrament of Matrimony… my soul leaped for joy as it recognized it immediately…as God Himself had written this in my own heart.  God is so GOOD. I love Him.

1641    “By reason of their state in life and of their order, [Christian spouses] have their own special gifts in the People of God.”This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they “help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children.”

1642    Christ is the source of this grace. “Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of Matrimony.” Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,” and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb:

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father?… How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.

V. The Goods and Requirements of Conjugal Love

1643    “Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter—appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility.

The unity and indissolubility of marriage

1644    The love of the spouses requires, of its very nature, the unity and indissolubility of the spouses’ community of persons, which embraces their entire life: “so they are no longer two, but one flesh.”They “are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving.”This human communion is confirmed, purified, and completed by communion in Jesus Christ, given through the sacrament of Matrimony. It is deepened by lives of the common faith and by the Eucharist received together.

The fidelity of conjugal love 

1646    By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement “until further notice.”

1648    It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God’s faithful love. Spouses who with God’s grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community.

VI. The Domestic Church

1657    It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way “by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.” Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.” Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous—even repeated—forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life.

What has been written for us by the authors of The Catechism is incredible.  It’s truth…plain and simple…[Beautiful].  Only Our God, a God of love, could have created such hope for union between man and woman.  He is the author of Marriage by the very nature of His love.  I ask myself this question: Is all of this even possible for me or for you?  Yes it is…it has been written in my heart from the very beginning and yours too.  We need to trust Jesus and put all our faith in Him.  Miracles do happen!!   I believe!!!   Do not give up hope.  May Christ strengthen each and every one of us to love as He loves and may we be open to His graces to live out our vocation to love with faithful mutual self-giving.

Grace affirms mutual love