The Catholic Church calls marriage a sacrament.
What is a sacrament? A sacrament is a visible sign of the invisible God that conveys grace.
How is marriage a sacrament? There are several ways. One way is, it is a visible sign of the triune God who is self-sacrificial love and relationship. Just as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are in a union of love that conveys the grace of life and existence itself; man, woman, and God (through the sacrament of marriage) enter into a union that conveys a grace so real you just might have to give it a name in 9 months.
God’s grace is infinite. Here are 3 infinite graces that flow through the sacrament of marriage:
- One remarkable grace is that unique individuals can live together in relative peace, as one, through a bond of love that is greater than themselves. Some would also call this a miracle. This miracle makes every sacramental commitment possible, including that of religious life.
- Another grace is the gift of a durable joy, peace, and stability that the world can never give. This is not a grace we can generate ourselves; we can only be open to it and nurture it, but it is always a gift of God. This is the grace that will sustain your marriage when hard times come, and they will.
- Another grace is the gift of being disillusioned. The sooner you lose your illusions about yourself, your spouse, and about married life, the better; so you can finally get to the real stuff. God’s plans for us are always better than the plans we have for ourselves and our marriage, no matter how well-intentioned.
One question we must ask is: why do so many marriages fail? This is a complex question and there are many causes, but I do know that if the Lord does not build the house, the builders labor in vain. A marriage not centered in God will never reach its potential, and that’s a shame because God is inviting us to share in the very same joyful human and divine union that is in Christ; a love far greater than our lesser loves and our individual issues. God’s love is greater than all our conflicts which will pass, but only if we put aside our personal agendas and allow God’s grace a chance to transform us into who we are meant to be. Then, we will become a blessing and a source of God’s grace to our children, our families, other married couples, our friends, our communities, the Church, and the world.