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  1. 1. Matrimony What Does Matrimony Celebrate?• The sacrament of Matrimony is considered an encounter with God - It celebrates a couple’s covenant to share the rest of their lives together and reveal God’s love to themselves and everyone around them through the relationship of their marriage• There are four concepts that emphasize the rich, sacramental quality of a marriage bond - Mutual self-giving - Covenantal faithfulness - The becoming of one’s real self - Creativity Mutual Self-Giving• God is revealed whenever human love or friendship is present• Matrimony has been seen as a way of showing God’s love in human terms - The marriage relationship symbolizes how God relates to us in the most vivid way - No matter how imperfect a marriage is, it is still sacramental A Symbol of God’s Gift of Self, Freely Bestowed
  2. 2. • Marriage is known to be a symbol of God’s total gift of self to human beings - For Christians, specifically, the equal sharing of love between a husband and wife help us comprehend Jesus’ loving gift of self through his death and Resurrection• Giving yourself to the commitment of marriage is only given through freedom and it implies that we recognize that we can give more to another person and deserve their respect in exchange. A Countercultural Vision• The Christian vision of marriage counteracts the trap of consumerism with its emphasis for partners on the free gift of self to each other• Matrimony asserts no amount of material possessions can ever bring hope and joy that two people can feel when they freely and generously love each other “A Communion of the Whole of Life”• Sexual intercourse is meant only for marriage because it exemplifies the total sharing of a whole committed life together as one• Only a loving sexual relationship can happily express the communion of husband and wife Covenant: More Than a Contract• The contract of marriage grew the idea to focus on the concept of marriage as a covenant - Modeled on the Covenant between God and the Chosen People or between Christ and the church
  3. 3. • In theology, a covenant is the community of personal partnership between God and humans, established by God’s unconditional free love, for the salvation of human beings - In a covenant, God and humans are bound to each other through promises of love and faithfulness Covenantal Faithfulness: Images for Today• Our culture sends us many messages about what love, married life, and family life should be like - Movies, TV shows, and romance novels often show unrealistic portraits of intense and passionate relationships that real-life marriages seldom achieve - Comparing marriage to God’s Covenant is not intended to place a burden on couples – presenting a divine ideal not humanly achievable - It is meant to present a model of fidelity that can help couples build their relationship and make it more loving Permanence• God is faithful to the Covenant forever, and the permanence ofhis love for the people is mirrored in the permanence of amarriage bond - This is reflected in the martial fidelity ( “until death do us part”) Constancy• Fidelity implies the ability to love through all the ups anddowns of life - This level of faithfulness requires a constant concern for each other’s well-being day-in and day-out - It represents a couple’s commitment to grow together in supporting and caring for each other
  4. 4. Loving confrontation• Fidelity also includes caring enough about the relationship toconfront problems honestly and struggle through them together - It assumes the spouses believe in each other’s inherent goodness even when certain traits are annoying or hurtful Lived values• Fidelity includes actively living out values and priorities Becoming One’s Real Self• A marriage covenant is a commitment freely and gladly given,a sign to the world of the love that sustains life - A couple that gives themselves in the marriage is marked with deeper sensitivity and a stronger identity - Part of the paschal mystery• A couple blessed by the grace of the sacrament of Matrimonycan believe that god has given them each other as the means totheir own salvation Living Out the Sacrament• The sacrament of Matrimony is not just celebration on thewedding day - It is the couple’s sharing the whole of their life together - The wedding ceremony celebrates and affirms the sacrament The Husband and Wife as the Primary Symbols
  5. 5. • The husband and wife are the primary symbols of Matrimony - In Roman Catholicism they are the ministers of the sacrament - In Eastern rites the priest or bishop is the minister of the sacrament• All acts of love the couple performs are “rituals” - The most powerful love ritual is sexual intercourse • It symbolizes and brings out the physical and spiritual union in marriage The Community as a Symbol• The community is at the wedding to celebrate the man andwoman’s love and let them know they will help the couple befaithful to the commitment they are making• The community itself is a symbol of Matrimony Common Elements of Matrimony Rituals• There are 3 possible rites for the sacrament in the CatholicChurch - the rite for celebrating Matrimony during Mass - the rite for celebrating Matrimony outside of Mass - the rite for celebrating Matrimony between a Catholic and an unbaptized person• Common to the 3 possible rites are these elements - the liturgy of the word - the consent (vows) - the blessing and exchange of rings - the nuptial blessing - the final blessing A Gradual Increase of Church Involvement
  6. 6. • The early church recognized marriages of baptized persons assacred undertakings - Christian rejection of divorce and infidelity contrasted with the practices of non-Christian Romans of the time• The church eventually got more involved since couples presentedthemselves to their bishop after the wedding to receive the bishop’sblessing• The church became the most stable force in marriages and rites inthe period of the 7th-11th centuries• By the 12th century, typical marriages took place in front of thechurch building A Tradition of Marriage’s Permanence• The church has always maintained that any valid marriage ispermanent and cannot be dissolved - A man was sometimes allowed to divorce and remarry if his wife was unfaithful to him • The reverse did not hold true An Unequivocal Teaching• Saint Ambrose reiterated Jesus’ teaching that marriage could notbe dissolved under any circumstances - Saint Augustine, one of Ambrose’s students, taught that divorce and remarriage was prohibited for men or women• By the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic church re-emphasized that the marriage bond is permanent Annulment Versus Divorce• Catholic church has recognized that there are cases in which amarriage blessed by the church was never valid
  7. 7. - There are several reasons for this • Either or both of the partners had not entered willingly • Had been dishonest about their intent • Had been unable to make a permanent commitment• If this is the case a person can choose to annul the marriage andhave the possibility to remarry - An annulment is not the same as a divorce• A divorce dissolves a marriage that once existed• An annulment declares a valid marriage never existed in the firstplace