Tuesday, 28 August 2012

45: The Foundations of the Sacrament of Marriage

Marriage is the “incarnation” of something greater and more secure than itself. This is why for us Catholics, marriage is indissoluble (there is no divorce).

Marriage is not an end in itself, it is based on something else: based on the relationship between Christ and his Church, his Bride. We don’t pride ourselves in believing in the “indissolubility” of Marriage. No, we pride ourselves in accepting that we are weak and that God offered us a very powerful help (the Sacrament), and that He is the foundation of our Marriage. We rely on Him, on that “thing” that is greater than us. What is it?

Let us come back to a fundamental teaching we find in the New Testament: the “Total Christ”. What is the “Total Christ”? The Total Christ is like a huge mystical person. He is one big Person. This person is composed by: the Head and the Body, one Total Christ.
The "Head of the Body", and the "Body of the Body".

We believe that “the Head” and “the Body” are united and can’t be separated. We also that they communicate  with each other in a totally transparent and powerful way.

We know that Christ, “the head of the Church” is “seated at the right hand of the Father”.

We know that “the Body of the Church” is here on earth (of course, it goes without saying that we do not exclude the dead and the Saints).

Our belief in “marriage” is based on another belief that precedes it; the profound and indissoluble link and the union  which exists between Jesus, up there, at the right hand of the Father, and His body, here on earth.
What does it mean?

It means that if you can’t “see”, explain, and contemplate the “link” between the Head and the Body, then you can’t really let the Grace of the Sacrament of Marriage flow, grow in you (both of you).

One tends to think that the Sacrament is received the day we get married and is there, like a static element in our life. On the contrary, the Sacrament is dynamic, the Sacrament is a fountain made available to the couple, and set in the reach of their hands so they can drink from it, get strength, light and inspiration from it.
But in order to get something from that “fountain”, we need to “see” it, to be familiarised with it, and learn to draw from it. 

So let us understand the foundations of Marriage, i.e. the real Big Marriage that precedes all marriages, the Marriage between the Head and the Body, and let us contemplate the powerful and indestructible link that exists between them. 

In order to do so, we need to “lift up our hearts”, lift them up to where Christ is, “seated at the right hand of the Father”. He is the Head of the Body. The Body is all of us humans, who lived in the past, live today and will live tomorrow, all of us loved by Jesus, the Only Begotten Son, who died out of love for each one of us in order to give him/her Divine Life.

Would you doubt that Jesus loves you? That Jesus is “for you”? That Jesus can’t fail you? How faithful Jesus is to you? The extent to which He would remain faithful to you? And what are the reasons that will “push” Him to remain faithful to you? The answers to these questions are the real foundations of the Sacrament of Marriage and of Jesus’ call to the couple to follow Him, hand in hand, and draw from Him their strength and their growth.

Lifting up your heart to Jesus, do you see Him seated at the right hand of the Father?

Lifting up your heart to Jesus, do you see Him present here on earth, suffering in each one of us, struggling to grow and reach His fullness in us?

Do you see what happened in your Baptism? Do you see what Jesus made for you, and how He actualised it for you in the Sacrament of Baptism?

For our Baptism, Jesus “married” each one of us, concretising what He made on the Cross.

Let us contemplate the powerful love of Jesus for each one of us. This love is a powerful river, that provides us with Divine Water. This Love is indestructible, it is the most solid union that exists after the Union/Unity between the Three August Persons of the Trinity, and the Union in Jesus between His Divine Nature and His Human Nature, in the unity of the One Person of the Second Person of the Trinity. Immediately, after these Unions, we have the Union between the Head and the Body of Jesus. This is the result of the Love of Jesus, the result of the Salvation that He realised for us in His Human Nature, fighting for us and loving us.

This love is offered not only in a personal way (like Baptism), it is offered to the Couple, so that both and each one of them can benefit from it “as a couple”, as a family.

The Trinity is like a family.
The Nazareth Family is one.

The Head and the Body of Christ are a “family”: the Head, the Body, and the Love/Link between them.

The day the couple receives the Sacrament of Marriage, they surrender their whole life into the Hands of Love; author of their lives, their call, their journey and their union. They allow God be first, in everything, and they promise they’ll work on maintaining that. This is why prayer, and praying together is fundamental for Christian Marriage. The day the couple receives the Sacrament of Marriage God sets a second Fountain, in the reach of their hands, so not only can they draw from it individually (this is the Fountain of Baptism), but they can draw from it “as a couple”.
In a very symbolic way this Fountain says a lot about Marriage
The Prayer of a Couple/Family

The Tradition and experience of the Church says that the prayer of a community is much stronger than the prayer of an individual. Even the Saints whose prayers are great in the eyes of God, perfectly knew how to be united daily with others in order to pray. “When two or three are united in My Name, I am amongst them” and their prayer is answered, always, because they united, with the bond of Love. 

The new community, this new family, this man and this woman, married now, they compose the basic and most powerful community, and remember dear friends: the prayer of that community is SO powerful.

This is why it is a duty for the couple to be open to life around them and to the action of God not only in their family but in their parish, in their country and in the world. The couple’s doors have to be opened so the rest of the world can benefit from their most powerful prayer.

If they entrust their prayer to the Mother of God, they will be able to see miracles around them.

Their UNION is transformed and expressed by their common prayer, daily.

May they constantly let their care extend to the world around them and offer their prayer to the needs, and if they commit in the Church, for something more specific on top of their only marriage, may they extend, daily, their prayers to these realities.

Let us pray for each other.


Leonora said...

Thank you for this entry. It really gave us so much to reflect on! You mention above... “May they let constantly their care extend to the world around them and offer their prayer to the needs, and if they commit in the Church, for something more specific on top of their only marriage,”

What do you mean by something more specific on top of their marriage? Is this referring to a particular vocation a couple have as husband and wife on top of their marriage?

God bless

Jean Khoury BSc MA, said...

Thanks Leonora for your words. You are very welcome.
"something more specific": as a couple, or one member of the couple could get involved in a specific service in the Church. (even if only one is involved, the other is automatically involved by his/her support, prayer, ...)
The couple may be involved in their Parish (Liturgy, Catechesis,..) , or in a "Third Order", or in a "Movement in the Church",... the list is long. This is a Call within the Call of Marriage.
Of course a married couple can receive a Call... as a couple, or only one of them (and later the other), or only "one of them", and the other is just supportive.
They can receive a call for a mission of evangelisation... so they travel in order to preach the Gospel (this already exists).
We have many cases of couples who lived or live (today) a mission on top of their normal mission of marriage. I am sure some readers will be able to mention other missions.
I hope this helps.