The Sacrament of Marriage is called a sacrament of vocation or service. It is a ceremony that begins a life of commitment which brings God’s love through the two people, who represent the unbreakable love of the Trinity, of God to creation, and Christ to the Church.
The sacrament, like many other sacraments, is a beginning. It is often named the sacrament of friendship, not just because the two getting married are friends, but because it models the relationship we have with God. Like our individual spiritual journeys, where we grow to know God more (and ourselves more) with each day of our life, marriage is a daily spiritual exercise of growing to know and love one’s spouse. Though the day of the wedding is one day, marriage as a sacrament is something that is (like other sacramental commitments) a response to God’s grace every day of the couple’s life. Like other sacraments, this promise made to one another, before God and community, is challenging, reminding us that our human journey requires conscious commitment at all times. The community’s role is to serve as a model and a help to those who embark on this journey, helping them through the journey, celebrating the times of happiness, and supporting them in times of trial and difficulty.
The Sacrament of Marriage is named a covenant. This means that for Catholics, it is more than a legal contract, but a mutual promise that is modeled after God’s promise with creation since the beginning of time, God’s continued providence over the Hebrew people in good times and bad, and Christ’s promise to always remain in the Church. The sacrament of marriage is closely related to the other sacraments, insofar as the commitment to live a life in response to grace and call begins in baptism, and in reconciliation. In the relationship of God to creation, to community, and to the Church, we consistently see the example of human failure, but the never-diminishing presence of God’s love and welcome. In this way, marriage is a covenant of commitment, of reconciliation, and of the journey.
For more information, or to arrange for a marriage at St. Bernadette Parish, please contact the rectory at 708-422-8995.