I was listening to Catholic Answers the day before and heard Jason Evert say he had heard a priest preach on marriage. He had said that all marriages have three rings, the engagement ring, the wedding ring and suffering.
That suffering is part of life and in marriage it is part of the Sacrifice that the husband must make for his wife and she for him. St. Paul teaches that husbands must love their wives as Christ loves the Church – He was crucified for her. The word Passion actually means “to pour out” as Christ poured out Himself in His Precious Blood and the water that finally flowed from His Sacred HEart.
I have never head Ephesians 5 read at any wedding. It is usually avoided because modern thinkers don’t like the idea that wives should be subjects to their husband, but there is just as much avoidance of the role of the husband in the family as it is called (in Catholic tradition) the domestic church.
The vows however, are a reflection of the Gospel message when the couple swear to be married through sickness, health, richer and poorer til death parts them. They swear in God’s name to be faithful together.
The role of marriage according the Church taught from the beginning is that the husband and wife are to bring each other to heaven – dragging each other if necessary. The couple are to be open to life as God calls them and to take very seriously their vocation as parents, the primary carers and educators of the children God gives them.
Marriage is a public institution. Strong, healthy marriages are the root and foundation of a strong, healthy society. In marriage the children are taught how to be good people, offering something worthwhile to society. The Church is strict that a valid marriage is based on the choice of the couple to be married. It must be a choice freely made. Love itself is a choice, not merely a feeling. Each day, no matter how we might feel, we are called to love the other – pouring ourselves out for one another.
I went through a bit of a phase when I thought I would like to be a wedding planner. Then I watched a series on TV following the work of a wedding planner and I decided I couldn’t do anything so gruelling. I can’t remember if it was this woman or another planner who said she had met many women who were ready for a wedding, but few were ready to be married.
Al wondered if we were a bit of a ‘sign’ at the wedding. We have been married for over 22 years and it’s pretty obvious – what with the wheelchair and all – that we are doing it through the “sickness” bit. I hope that was, as he suggests, an inspritation rather than a moment of “I couldn’t cope with that!” (lol)
Fortunately for society there are people, like the couple we saw on Friday, who are ready for marriage and we hope and pray that as they pour themselves out in the marriage that it will bear much fruit and bring all in that family to heaven.