Made for a Reason Retreat Day Two – Marriage: Made for Love
Day Two – Marriage: Made for Love
Breaking Open the Theme
Marriage between one man and one woman responds to the deepest longing of the human heart for love and belonging. We yearn to be loved and to receive love. The same can be said of family life: in a family, children are received to be loved and to love in return.
Despite human shortcomings, the married couple and the family are reflections of God who is three divine persons in a communion of love. In marriage, the man and the woman become “one body” (Gen 2: 24), a communion of love that generates new life. In a similar way, the human family becomes a communion of love by the exchange of giving and receiving love between its members.
Marriage and family life are schools of love. They teach us how to reach a communion of love within the context of daily life: full of joys, sacrifices, trials, and hopes. In all of this, love is purified and perfected, made authentic and complete. As Christ’s sacrifice on the cross exemplified, love is laying down one’s life for another. Spouses and family members are called to do the same, each and every day.
Despite our best efforts to love faithfully and unconditionally, marriage and family life can be difficult and challenge our ability to love continually. The marital love that is blessed by the sacrament of marriage is fortified and sustained, however, by a unique grace intended to “perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity” (CCC, 1641). By virtue of this grace, the couple helps one another to attain holiness.
The source of this grace is Christ. “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” (GS, 48). 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,” and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love” (CCC, 1642).
To Think About
(Choose one or more of the following questions to reflect on by yourself and/or with your spouse)
- What makes the love of man and woman unique, especially within the marital relationship? What makes the love of family members a communion of persons?
- How are our marriage and family schools of love? As a couple and family, do we demonstrate a communion of love that is self-giving, pure, and sacrificial?
- As a couple, how do we rely on the grace of the sacrament of marriage to assist us in moments of challenge and difficulty?
Prayer of 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. Amen.