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The Sacrament of matrimony

24 Aug 2015, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sacraments

wedding-ceremonyMarriage in all cultures is a common practice; I am yet to see or hear about any culture where marriage is forbidden. Marriage is a natural institution instituted by God from the very beginning; it is the union of man and wife. Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him…So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh (Gen. 2:18:21-24). God made them male and female, a man and a woman coming together as husband and wife to begin a family.
But today, this family is threatened; the institution of marriage is threatened by the legalization of gay marriage in some parts of the world. This is a deliberate attempt to destroy the institution of marriage; it is an “ideological colonization of the family.” The Catholic Church stands against this move with all her strength and insists on the original plan of God for marriage. The Catholic Church teaches that the matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish themselves a partnership of the whole life, is by its nature ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptised persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.CCC 1601.

A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, and Christ is the only source of this grace. The grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they “help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children. CCC 1641.

The mere coming together of a man and a woman does not constitute marriage, it must be valid and sacramental for it to be recognized in the Catholic Church. Every sacramental marriage is valid but not every valid marriage is sacramentalized,

in other words, we recognize culturally contracted marriages as valid but not sacramentalized because the grace of matrimony has not been conferred.
That explains why validly married couples in the Catholic Church are not admitted to the Eucharist until they sacramentalize their marriage.

The seven sacraments in the Catholic church were instituted by Jesus Christ, he raised marriage to the level of a sacrament. In every sacrament there must be three things; outward sign, inward grace, and its authorship in Christ. In marriage, the outward sign is the natural coming together of a man and a woman to be husband and wife in their exchange of consent, the inward grace is that special blessing and strength God confers on the couple to unite them in an indissoluble union until death does them part. The institution itself must have its origin in Christ. Don’t get me wrong; marriage existed before the incarnation. Marriage was instituted from the very beginning of creation by the father. wedding at canaThe sacramentality of marriage was inaugurated by Jesus’ presence at a wedding in Cana (Jn.2), just as we say that by stepping into the river Jordan for baptism, he sanctified the water for our use. Jesus “did not” create the water but came to fulfill creation (5:17-19). The involvement of Jesus in the celebration of marriage makes it special and different from the mere coming together of a man and a woman in marriage. There is something different and special in Christian marriage that is not in any unsacramentalized marriage, and that difference is Christ. The presence of Christ changes things; that is why after court marriage or any other form of marriage, the couple goes to the Church to sacramentalized the marriage, to receive that which is not in the mere union of a man and woman.

Marriage or the sacrament of matrimony is, therefore a wonderful gift that must be appreciated.

  • God bless you Padre. But what You think we should do since the world has left the sacrament out of marriage and allowed it to be something they can decide about in the courts as long as their is majority vote for or against their caprices.

  • what do u mean by being sacramentalized n in my initial comments by courts i was talking abt supreme courts n legislative arms of govt changing d meaning of marriages. what shd christians do.

  • Nwaka Ebere celine Reply

    It’s really sad when oneblooks at marriage and family in our society. Children are experiencing d pangs of broken homes and it is one of the things plaguing our society.

    I’m a school teacher and almost in daily basis you see single mothers coming to beg to be given time for their Ward’s school fees or you hear the children complaining bitterly about situations in their homes… It’s quite tragic!

    I guess the church will continue to plead on the conscience of all if us cos the family and marriage values are lost.