Life

On Marriage

The passage below is the Introduction from the old rite of Marriage ( emphasis mine).

I fall short in my vocation as a wife, but I have a great dh who helps me, supports me, who encourages me. Who encouraged me in my exploration of the faith and in my conversion to the Church.

My dh is a cradle Catholic. I am not, I am a convert of fourteen years. Attending mass with my dh, over the years, from our engagement in 1978 on, began my journey to Catholicism.

So, the Sacrament of marriage, the journey of marriage, became my journey to the Church. Thank God!

You are about to be married. Now for children of God and members of the Catholic Church marriage is more than a human contract. It is something supernatural and holy and must be approached with that thought in mind. It was God himself who joined our first parents as husband and wife, and with the first nuptial blessing made them the founders of the family and the home. And it was our divine Saviour who raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament, thus adding to it the grace he won for us when he died upon the Cross. Remember what St Paul told the Ephesians. The union of a husband and wife is only to be compared with the union between Christ and his Church.
The life, therefore, to which God has called you, is noble and sublime. Yours it is to cooperate with God in his creation, bringing into the world new lives, to be children of the Church and heirs of the kingdom of heaven. Here today, before the altar, in the presence not only of your relatives and friends but of the angels of God and the whole court of heaven, your two lives are to be united in a bond that will endure as long as life shall last. May God in his goodness never cease to strengthen the love that unites you.

Have no fears but rather great confidence. Fulfil your religious duties, your prayer, your reception of the Sacraments. Learn to love each other, but also to understand each other, sometimes to put up with each other. Keep a place for Our Lord in your home. Where he is, there is no room for the evil things that can destroy your happiness and drive God’s grace away. Ask his holy Mother and St Joseph that they may be with you as well. Model your lives and your home upon theirs; and may their prayers obtain for you many years of happy life together.

I didn’t know or understand any of this, when I married. I learned these things through prayer, through reading, through God’s Grace, through the loving example of my husband and through the example of the priests and religious that I have been blessed to know.

Prayer

O merciful Lord God, who in the beginning didst take Eve out of the side of Adam and didst give her to him as a helpmate: grant me grace to live worthy of the honorable estate of matrimony to which Thou hast called me, that I may love my husband with a pure and chaste love, acknowledging him as my head, and truly reverencing and obeying him in all good things; that thereby I may please him, and live with him in all Christian serenity. Keep me from all worldliness and vanity. Help me, O Lord, that I may, under him, prudently and discreetly guide and govern his household. Let no fault of mine aggravate any sins by which he may be especially tempted; enable me to soothe him in perplexity, to cheer him in difficulty, to refresh him in weariness, and, as far as may be, to advise him in doubt. [Give me understanding so to fulfil my part in the education of our children, that they may be our joy in this world and our glory in the next.] Grant that our perfect union here may be the beginning of the still more perfect and blissful union hereafter in Thy kingdom; and this I pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God’s Grace

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.”147 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,”148 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:From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

My Husband

He has always had my good in his heart and mind ~ Authentic conjugal love presupposes and requires that a man have a profound respect for the equal dignity of his wife: “You are not her master,” writes St. Ambrose, “but her husband; she was not given to you to be your slave, but your wife…. Reciprocate her attentiveness to you and be grateful to her for her love.”(69) With his wife a man should live “a very special form of personal friendship.”As for the Christian, he is called upon to develop a new attitude of love, manifesting towards his wife a charity that is both gentle and strong like that which Christ has for the Church.” Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II

The Example of Priests and Religious

In virginity or celibacy, the human being is awaiting, also in a bodily way, the eschatological marriage of Christ with the Church, giving himself or herself completely to the Church in the hope that Christ may give Himself to the Church in the full truth of eternal life. The celibate person thus anticipates in his or her flesh the new world of the future resurrection. By virtue of this witness, virginity or celibacy keeps alive in the Church a consciousness of the mystery of marriage and defends it from any reduction and impoverishment…..

In spite of having renounced physical fecundity, the celibate person becomes spiritually fruitful, the father and mother of many, cooperating in the realization of the family according to God’s plan.
Christian couples therefore have the right to expect from celibate persons a good example and a witness of fidelity to their vocation until death. Just as fidelity at times becomes difficult for married people and requires sacrifice, mortification and self-denial, the same can happen to celibate persons, and their fidelity, even in the trials that may occur, should strengthen the fidelity of married couples.
From the Encyclical above..
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