What We Believe: Part 33 – The Sacrament of Marriage
The attraction for each between man and woman can easily lead them to the conviction that they were meant for each other in a marriage union. However, the experience of the Church in its role official role as witness of such a union has led to many dioceses demanding rather lengthy preparation courses in order to focus starry-eyed prospective on the reality of the proposed life-long relationship.
“The sacramental covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and the education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament.” (1601)
The content of the above statement makes for explanations that are eye-opening, indeed. For example, the simple declaration of “I do” in response to what is entailed in the life-giving of self to the other will eventually fill many volumes, as it were.
It is a common fact that comes to light frequently in marriage court inquiries that free consent was lacking on the part of one of the partners thus making the marriage contract invalid. And there can be other misunderstandings that hopefully would be brought to light in a proper preparation course.
This article on the sacrament of marriage is an attempt to caution prospective marriage partners of the need for instructions about what is involved in this life-contract with the hope that it will be the happy and satisfying experience that is anticipated.
There is so much that should be known about marriage that cannot be adequately presented here, we feel it seems better to leave it to a marriage preparation course. Suffice to quote a comprehensive statement based of the Council of Trent,
“The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity and sanctify them on the way to eternal life.”