73. “Mutual self-giving in the sacrament of matrimony is grounded in the grace of baptism, which establishes the foundational covenant of every person with Christ in the Church. In accepting each other, and with Christ’s grace, the engaged couple promise each other total self-giving, faithfulness and openness to new life. The couple recognizes these elements as constitutive of marriage, gifts offered to them by God, and take seriously their mutual commitment, in God’s name and in the presence of the Church. Faith thus makes it possible for them to assume the goods of marriage as commitments that can be better kept through the help of the grace of the sacrament… Consequently, the Church looks to married couples as the heart of the entire family, which, in turn, looks to Jesus”.65 The sacrament is not a “thing” or a “power”, for in it Christ himself “now encounters Christian spouses... He dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens”.66 Christian marriage is a sign of how much Christ loved his Church in the covenant sealed on the cross, yet it also makes that love present in the communion of the spouses. By becoming one flesh, they embody the espousal of our human nature by the Son of God. That is why “in the joys of their love and family life, he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb”.67 Even though the analogy between the human couple of husband and wife, and that of Christ and his Church, is “imperfect”,68 it inspires us to beg the Lord to bestow on every married couple an outpouring of his divine love.
65 Relatio Synodi 2014, 21.
66 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1642.
68 Catechesis (6 May 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 7 May 2015, p. 8.
© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.