The Sacrament of Matrimony

The family is so fundamental and sacred to society that Jesus elevated marriage as a sacrament. As a Sacrament of Vocation, Holy Matrimony is a calling from God and a source of grace and strength for a man and a woman to live in union, fidelity, and fruitfulness.

Like all sacraments, a Catholic marriage is a sign of a greater reality. The union of one man and one woman in Holy Matrimony is a powerful sign of Jesus’ love for his bride, the Church.

A man and woman enter into a Catholic marriage freely and consent to live out their marriage as the Church defines and as God intended.

In the Sacrament of Matrimony, the bride and groom give themselves to each other totally and regardless of circumstances. They also promise to remain faithful to each other until death seperates them. The couple must be open to having children and agree to raise them in the Catholic faith.

The minister of the sacrament is not the Catholic clergy, but the bride and the groom themselves who administer the sacrament to each other. A deacon, priest, or bishop must be present to serve as a representative witness for the Church.

The man and woman who are free to marry are also the matter of the sacrament.

The form of the sacrament are the wedding vows. When the bride and groom exchange their oaths in public, they speak their marriage into existence.

Not just a contract or agreement between two people, Catholic marriage is a covenant between the man, the woman, and God. Sealed and strengthened by God, the couple’s pledge to love each other unconditionaly for the rest of their lives cannot be dissolved or broken.

God is present where there is authentic love:

An exclusive and unique friendship:

The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a helper suited to the man. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, He took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built the rib that He had taken from the man into a woman. When He brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.

Genesis 2: 20-24

A valid Catholic marriage has certain qualities:

A sacred vocation for life:

The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist. Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sign, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1617

A marriage strengthened by God’s grace:

Celebrating love and recognizing a greater reality:

A natural phenomenon and a Catholic sacrament:

Marriage, then, is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, Whose purpose was to effect in man his loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives. The marriage of those who have been baptized is, in addition, invested with the dignity of a sacramental sign of grace, for it represents the union of Christ and his Church.

Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 25 July 1968

A sign of Christ’s love for his Church:

By Gods’ providence and for God’s purposes:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

A treasury of Catholic wisdom and virtue:

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