Adapted from R.C.I.A, Sixth Sunday in Easter, 1996
Another look at Christian Matrimony…
There are three parts (potentially) in the Sacrament of Matrimony:
- Pre-marriage life – dating, courtship, engagement, wedding
- Married life – career, community, sex, parenthood, stress & change
- Widowhood – pre-marriage again, memories, prayers for deceased spouse
Single people are witnesses to the Sacrament of Matrimony when they practice holy chastity, and support married couples with prayer and community. They are also witnesses for the Kingdom of God by refusing to marry a lesser spouse to avoid loneliness or have children. They show by the way they live the single life that in heaven people “are not married or given in marriage.”
Married people live out the Sacrament when they are a sign on Earth of the love between Christ and the Church. This sign is most powerful when the husband and wife love and respect each other with a Christlike charity. Of course, this means that no abuse of any kind can exist, no neglect (even for the sake of career, the Church or love of sports). Faithfulness in marriage includes both sexual fidelity and faithfulness as friends. Obedience to Church teaching in the area of sexuality includes the avoidance of artificial birth control, harmful/abusive sexual practices and pornography. The marriage is above all Christ-centered, and firmly planted on the Rock which Jesus established.
Get the Vatican II documents and read Lumen Gentium, or Light to the Gentiles.
Helpful Church documents on Matrimony and the single life
The local bookstore, “Our Ministry,” can help you get these…
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, You can search it for these topics and sections:
2231 Single life
2353, 2391 Sex before marriage, including while engaged
2362 Sex in marriage, esp. Discourse by Pope Pius XII
1622 Preparation for marriage
1623 Sacrament conferred by the couple
2365 Real fidelity
2368-2371 Birth control
See Matrimony in the index for many more…
“Gaudium et Spes” (“The Church in the Modern World”, 7 Dec 1965)
You can find this in the “Vatican Council II” book, Costello Publishing company
Sections 47 through 52 are wonderful to read.
47 Marriage and the Family in the Modern World
48 Holiness of Marriage and the Family
49 Married Love
50 The Fruitfulness of Marriage
51 Married Love and Respect for Human Life
52 Fostering Marriage and the Family: a Duty for All
For more detail on the teaching against artificial birth control, read the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (“Of Human Life”), Pope Paul VI, 1968. Marywood has classes on Natural Family Planning, which works and is encouraged by the Church.