Breaking Open the Theme
Jesus heals marriage and restores it to its original purity of permanent self-giving in one flesh. But the Lord does not stop there. Christ generously invites husband and wife to participate in His spousal love for his Church. Christian spouses are invited to model their love on God’s inner life and love in the Blessed Trinity. In this way, the marriage of two baptized Christians becomes a living symbol: a sign which makes present the union of Christ with His Church (see Eph 5:22ff).
Jesus is truly present in His followers and in their marriages. Practically, this means that when life’s difficulties press in on husband and wife, they are not alone. Though they remain fallible and weak human beings, Christian spouses can rely on Jesus to help them to continue in love even when it seems impossible. This is what is meant by the grace of the sacrament. In every moment of their married lives, Jesus is present to give Christian spouses the strength to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, and to love one another even to the end.
She had felt that the world was crashing around her when she learned of her husband’s affair. Still, she was determined to fight for her marriage, and he wanted desperately to heal what he had damaged. Popular wisdom was not on their side, and people let her know it, too. After tears and late-night talks, some angry exchanges, and lots of counseling and prayer, she and her husband reconciled. She would say it was faith that made the difference, but mostly they don’t explain their decision to others. They just say, “We’re married.” That was 10 years ago, and new friends would never guess what they went through. Most couples will not be so severely tested, but a failure to be forgiving can make even small faults—leaving the cap off the toothpaste, poor hygiene, or weak cooking skills—destructive to a marriage.
To Think About
(1) How has the grace of the sacrament of marriage sustained you in difficult times?
(2) What are some of the joyful things about being married? What are some of the challenges? Can something be both joyful and challenging?
Prayer for Married Couples
Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of husband and wife
So that we might reflect the union of Christ with his Church:
look with kindness on us.
Renew our marriage covenant.
Increase your love in us,
and strengthen our bond of peace
so that, [with our children],
we may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
- All Days of the Virtual Marriage Retreat
- Day One of the Virtual Marriage Retreat
- Day Two of the Virtual Marriage Retreat
- Day Three of the Virtual Marriage Retreat