World Marriage Day is scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 11-12. This is a marvelous opportunity to speak to and reflect upon the life-giving partnership of one man and one woman that is by nature ordered to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of their children.
Let me begin by acknowledging and congratulating all our laity who have embraced marriage as their vocational call to holiness. No vocation — married, consecrated, single or clerical — is lived free from temptations, challenges and struggles. This is part of being human.
The marriage vocation reflects in a special way Christ’s love for his bride, the church — a sacrificial life-giving love that is faithful, fruitful and forever. Today, more than ever, our families, parishes and communities need witnesses and support for the complementary union of man and woman that Christ raised to the dignity of a sacrament.
It would be my hope that all priests and deacons will use the Sunday liturgies of World Marriage Day to speak to their congregation about the natural and supernatural realities of marriage and encourage couples of all ages to remain open to the graces of this sacrament.
At the same time, I encourage clergy and laity alike to review the church’s teaching on marriage, which is set forth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, part two, article 7, paragraphs 1601 to 1666.
Sign of Jesus’ love
The Scripture readings for the weekend of Feb. 11-12 may make it a little difficult for our priests and deacons to achieve this purpose as the first reading deals with the ancient purity laws concerning leprosy, and the Gospel highlights the curing of a leper by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry.
But Christ’s healing was more than just the manifestation of a physical cure. Indeed, it was a sign of Jesus’ love, a love that calls mankind to a communion with him that will one day be fully achieved in the Kingdom.
That love of Jesus, of course, is manifest in a unique and real way in the married union of a man and a woman. Herein, the love of Jesus is intimately and immediately present to spouses in their love for one another. That spousal love reveals itself to husband and wife as the healing and compassionate love of Christ, which binds those spouses ever closer to each other.
Christian marriage is also a particular form of participation in this economy of healing love that comes from the Lord Jesus. The day in and day out fidelity of Christian spouses to each other is not glitzy or flashy, but rather reflects the quiet, progressive healing of the soul at the very deepest, most intimate level.
Married in Christ, a husband and wife lift each other out of the “leprosy” of a world where efficiency is often valued over persons, where “having” is often valued more than “being.” As the married couple finds a true home in each other, they form the context of a community in which to welcome their offspring.
The USCCB website also offers other resources:
Making a difference
Finally, as we prepare for the constitutional amendment on marriage in November, World Marriage Day is for us a most appropriate occasion to sign up for a new “marriage protection pledge.”
Forms are available from Minnesota for Marriage (write to: 2355 Fairview Ave N, Box 301, Roseville, MN 55113). One can also go online to sign the pledge at http://www.MinnesotaforMarriage.com.
By doing so, you can be assured that this World Day for Marriage will truly make a difference!
God bless you!
Category: Only Jesus