Called to Live for Another
As we approach the summer season, many couples throughout the world will be entering into Marriage. In our Roman Catholic Faith Tradition, Marriage is a covenant, sacrament, and vocation. The Church’s teachings on the Sacrament of Marriage reflects that a life of communion is integral to “being human.” Although there are different types and ways of being in communion with others, the Sacrament of Marriage highlights for and reminds us that we are called to live for another, not only for one’s own self. When two people marry, one of their commitments is that he/she desires the fulfillment of the other as God has called and created that person to be. Therefore, it is a vocation and call in which one lives his/her life in a specific way for the other’s salvation (wholeness).
The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenant- a binding agreement that both will live concretely their vocation and Sacrament in a dignified and honorable manner, reflecting God’s love for God’s people and Christ Jesus’ love for His Church. And the covenant does not involve only the married couple. Without God’s presence and grace, Marriage becomes something functional and totally reliant upon the couple. God is the author and source of life and living. Each person in a Marriage has a responsibility to live this Sacrament. However, without the presence and recognition of God’s active and salvific presence, we become both creator and author of our vocation. And there remains a risk that the relationship may become self-serving and harmful to the other. We must recall that God first loved us. God initiates; we respond by how we live.
Why does our Roman Catholic Faith Tradition call Marriage a sacrament? Sacraments are pivotal encounters of human life and relationship with God. Marriages may be recognized by the Church, and yet not recognized as sacramental. Sacraments elevate those pivotal encounters between God in Christ Jesus’ Paschal mystery and humanity. The Sacrament of Marriage becomes (as all the Sacraments do) a channel of God’s grace for us. The natural and human drive to commit one’s life to another becomes something that now is an active agent of Christ Jesus’ presence in the world. Sin has distorted human nature, and the Sacraments restore human nature and human relationships to God’s original plan and purpose. Sacraments bestow the life-giving grace of Jesus Christ.
There are guidelines and procedures for the Sacrament of Marriage. This is the reason there are preparation classes by diocesan instructors; meetings with a priest; and Pre-Marriage Inventory assessment. These tools are opportunities for couples to greater appreciation and awareness of this amazing Sacrament. They also help the couple’s awareness as to the importance and seriousness of Marriage. And couples should take that positive and grace-filled approach to this amazing sacrament.
We encourage and invite couples to make an appointment to meet with a priest. Perhaps there may be impediments (obstacles or circumstances) for couples or even questions. We are present to discern with you as your advocates and spiritual fathers, not a “task master who has you jump through hoops.”Let Christ Jesus reveal to you the glory and splendor of Marriage. Peace and Grace. -Father Russell