There is much talk in our times about marriage -
what it means; who can marry; why or why not?
These questions represent a new challenge to Christians to clearly teach what marriage is meant to be and why we should preserve the true meaning of marriage.
Throughout scripture, from the first scenes in Genesis to the last moments of the Book of Revelation, we can find the meaning and intention of God for marriage,
meant to be a beautiful reflection of Christ's love for us, His Church.
Following God's Will Brings Profound Love
(Tri-City Herald Spiritual Life Column, January 2015)
In the beginning, God spoke one Word into the eternal silence and thus all creation came into being. In all the vastness of creation, only man was created in God’s image. The first man, Adam, given authority to name the animals and finding none among them like himself, became deeply aware of his solitude. St. John Paul II, in his Theology of the Body, states that Adam’s experience of “original solitude” reveals man’s uniqueness as a rational being. He alone “possesses the power of knowing… the visible world.”
Determining that man needs a suitable companion, God created woman from Adam’s pierced side as he slept. On seeing his feminine counterpart, Adam exclaims, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Designed to unite as one flesh, the two become participators in God’s creative action, bringing forth new life, together reflecting God’s image.
Because free will was necessary for mankind to truly mirror God’s image, this gift was given to humanity from the beginning. But Adam and Eve, in choosing to disobey God’s command, allowed sin and death to enter the world. Exiled from Paradise in consequence, mankind has lost something irredeemable - until God Himself redeems the loss.
So begins the great saga of human history. God, the Lover of His people, continually calls His often-wayward Bride back to fidelity. The story, woven throughout the Old Testament, is fulfilled in the New, when God sends His Son, born in accordance with His own design for the human family, to the simplest, poorest, yet holiest of families. Their only riches are spiritual and their great dignity flows from humble obedience to God’s will. In their care, Jesus grows in wisdom and grace as any child does, until the long-awaited time comes when He will sacrifice His life for His promised bride. The victory over sin is won on the cross. As He sleeps the deep sleep of death, the Church is born of blood and water flowing from His pierced side. But death has not won, our Savior lives, and the great romance culminates in the heavenly wedding feast of Christ and His Bride, the Church.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians takes up this theme of marriage in reference to Christ and the Church. In response to God’s command that “the two shall become one flesh” men must love their wives as their own bodies, even “as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.” Marital love is intended to reflect the mystery of Christ and the Church.
Whether married, single, or in religious life, we are all called to live in accord with God’s plan for self-sacrificing love, in purity and holiness. Following God’s will allows His profound love and joy to permeate our hearts, bringing perfect peace despite life’s trials. But this interior joy only hints at what is to come. The soul’s longing for divine union with God will only be realized in eternity, when, having united our will perfectly to His, we, like the Bride in the Song of Songs, will hear the voice of the Bridegroom calling, “Arise my love, and come away, for see, winter is past and the rains are over and gone.”