In this series of articles, I seek to offer you dear reader, a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Matrimony. I hope to inspire, educate, enlighten, strengthen, and encourage couples and those who are contemplating married life.
What is marriage in God’s plan for humanity? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), in paragraphs 1601-1666 provides a brilliant summation of what the Church teaches on marriage. I recommend you take the time to read it for a greater understanding.
“The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws….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
Let’s start at the beginning, directly from Scripture:
“Then God said: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth. God created mankind in his image; in the image of God, he created them; male and female, he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” Gen 1:26-28
Marriage is God’s idea, and everything God does is for our good. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen writes,
“The vocation to marriage is a vocation to happiness, which comes through holiness and sanctity. The love that sustains them at every step of the road is the Love that created them and witnessed their union. The sanctity of married life is not something that takes place alongside marriage, but by and through marriage.”Sheen, Three to Get Married
In short, we have learned that God is good and does everything for our good. Marriage is God’s idea. Marriage images in a visible world, a peek at how God loves, forgives, is merciful, and the fruitful nature of life-giving love.
Marriage in God’s beautiful plan is also a means of sanctification of the couple. That means, we grow in holiness in and through our marriage. How? By practicing selfless love which is putting our spouse before self.
What are the biggest challenges you face in marriage? How can a deeper understanding of God’s plan open your eyes and heart to the possiblities that the Catholic Church proposes?
Part two of the four articles will post next week, “To Love and to Honor.”