Monday, March 14, 2011
Blog # 134 The Sacramental Life of Matrimony
Blog # 134 The Sacramental Life of Matrimony We believe that Matrimony is one of the seven Sacraments given to the Church by Jesus. The sacramental system adds a whole new dimension to our human life, like the poetry of words, or the art of color. The Sacraments in general bear out and manifest St. Paul's statement : "I live, no, not I, but Christ lives in me". Each of the Sacraments is a sign and realization of some particular aspect of our salvation in Jesus. Ideally, the sacramental dimension of our lives as Christians should be known and valued much the same as all of the other facets of our personal identification such as our name, family ties job talents hopes, etc. The trouble is that for many Christians such knowledge is almost entirely foreign and the various contacts with Sacraments they experience are, commensurate with their individual degree of knowledge , so close to being meaningless and without personal value that they almost become like a child in a choir who is taught to sing the sounds of a French song but who does not, because of his or her inability through ignorance of the language, personally sing the French! All of this applies very well. of course, to marriage. But in order to make such an application the individual must it would seem understand its application across the board to all of the Sacraments. Each Sacramental experience calls from those who participate for a personal understanding and response, a living out in us of God's love. Take Baptism as an example. Paul's Baptismal theology identifies and emphasizes in Baptism a death and rising, a re-creation as well as an experience of purification from Original Sin. In contrast, if we emphasize Original Sin and its forgiveness through Baptism we end up with greater focus on a state of innocense rather than new life. The gift of new life in Baptism is a transformation in the person. A person in union with Jesus in Baptism is not simply innocent; he or she is redeeemed and reborn. And his new life reveals itself in new activity. We are one in Jesus, as branches on a vine. In all we do as Christians Christ is present and acting. The Christian by sharing in the fullness of Jesus now becomes the revelation of God in the world. His action becomes identified with the action of God! In Paul's theology this is the source of Sacramental efficacy. Man's action has become immersed in the life of God. (Ephesians 4: 4 - 6). As part of the practical consequences of all of this we should attempt to understand how God is operating in and through us and should make efforts to become more conscious of our presence within the life of the Trinity. We should attempt to make ourselves more aware of God's actions in the Sacraments and through our experience of the Sacraments in us. In our experience of the Sacraments our knowlege and love of God is not simply ours, but rather it is that God knows and loves in us. Our knowledge and love must somehow be His. Particularly with regard to the Sacrament of Matrimony these considerations drive home more clearly what St. Paul was saying when writing to the Ephesians he compared the love of husband and wife to that of Christ for the People of God. (Eph. 5 25). Sacramental marriage is a revelation-faith relationship just as other Sacramental experiences. A man and woman manifest through their love for one another the love of Christ for us, which in turn manifests the love of God our Father for all creation. But just as not all wheat and not all wine find their destiny in the Eucharist and not all water and all oil find their destiny in Baptism and the Sacraments of anointing, so it is that not all men and women who are indeed humanly married find their destiny in a faith relationship with God and one another in the Sacrament of Matrimony. Surely we must possess this knowledge and faith before we can share our treasure with others. "Do you take __________________________________- here present as your wife/husband?" " I do". What do these words say? Are they natural words, philosophical words, or are they spiritual words, words of faith, Sacramental words? ***** ***** ****** Some pertinent Scripture texts: Genesis 1: 27 ; 2: 24-25; Mark 10: 2-12; Eph 5: 25, 28-33; Mat 22: 23-30; 1 Tim 5; 14. On love: 1 John 4: 19, 20; Jude 21; Gen 29: 20; Proverbs 27 5; John 13: 34,35; John 15: 13; Rom 8: 35; 13: 8; 1 John 3: 18; 1 Cor 2: 9; Eph 5: 25.