For the majority of people the path of Christian discipleship and holiness of life will lie within marriage. The lifelong commitment of a man and a woman to one another in an exclusive intimacy that is open to the generation of new life has the dignity of a Sacrament.
Marriage of the Virgin and St Joseph. Raphael
Marriage receives frequent mention in the Bible. Think of Isaac and Rebecca (Gen. 24) or Tobit and Sarah (Tobit 8-10). Jesus worked his first miracle at a wedding to which he had been invited with his mother and his disciples, and many of his other miracles were worked out of compassion for a parent or family member.
Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of “the wedding-feast of the Lamb.” Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its “mystery,” its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realisations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin, and its renewal “in the Lord” in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1602
Think of the example of Sts Louis and Zelie Martin. The initial attraction of each of them was towards religious life, but when they were prevented from following this path they realised that marriage was God’s will for them. They were happily married but their life together was not without the trials to which many couples might relate; the deaths of four children, behavioural problems of a difficult daughter, running a business from home while raising a family, Zelie’s cancer and early death. Their five surviving children all became religious and one of them a saint, the well-loved St Therese of Lisieux. Their ‘problem child’ Leonie is also on track for sainthood and Louis and Zelie themselves were canonised by Pope Francis in 2016.
Do you have a clear understanding of the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage?
Does it attract you?
If you are in a relationship, is it with someone who would share your ideal of marriage?
If you are not in a relationship, are you in a situation where you might meet someone who would share that ideal?
Has the example of couples close to you influenced, positively or negatively, your view of marriage?
Do you have any fears about marriage? Parenthood?
Are there any issues that you need to deal with in yourself in order to be open to the possibility of serious dating leading to marriage?
Lectio Song of Songs 8: 6-7
Obtain and read a CTS booklet on Marriage.
Speak to someone who appears to you to be in a successful marriage and check out any hopes, fears, or illusions you may have.
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Prayer O God, who gave to Blessed Louis and Marie Zelie the grace to lead a life of holiness as christian spouses and parents, grant that, through their intercession and example, we may be able to love and serve you faithfully, living worthily our own vocation. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.