The Sacrament of Matrimony
Marriage has an important place in God's plan for humanity. In the first book of the Bible we read that God created humankind male and female and drew man and woman into an unbreakable bond whereby the two became one fliesh. In the last book of the Bible, the final glorious state of humanity is portrayed as "the wedding feast of the lamb."
In speaking of marriage, Jesus recalled God's intention that husband and wife should create a permanent bond with each other. He also made the love of a husband and wife a symbol of the love with which he loves us.
St. Paul writing to the Ephesians tells them that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for it. Recalling, as Jesus did, God's intention for husbands and wives from the beginning, Paul says that marriage is a great mystery which he views in relation to Christ and the Church.
For just as Christ himself united himself to humanity in an unbreakable bond of love, so too a wife and husband choose to unite their lives in a love which should reflect the love of Christ. The deeply personal, intimate and faithful love of a Christian husband and wife for each other becomes a reminder to those who come to know them that Christ loves each and every one of us personally, intimately and faithfully.
As Christ laid down his life for his disciples whom he formed into a community of faith, so husband and wife lay down their lives for each other, sacrificing their independence as single persons to form a community which shares God's own creative power through the couple's capacity to bring new life into the world. No wonder the church calls the home of Christian families a "domestic church."
It is this spiritual dimension of reflecting his own love for us which Christ has added to the human reality of marriage that makes it a sacrament of the Church.
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