The Sacrament of Marriage is one of the two Sacraments of Service of Communion (the other is Holy Orders), which are directed towards the salvation of others. Such Sacraments “confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God” (CCC 1534).
Through the Sacrament of Marriage one man and one woman are joined together in a sacred covenant for life for the good of the spouses and for the procreation and education of offspring.
We must always remember that God is the sole author of marriage and thus:
“The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life” (CCC 1603).
The Sacrament of Marriage truly models the self-giving love that Jesus has for his Church. It is in this Sacrament that man and woman are truly joined together in a holy union for life. Once a valid marriage has occurred it is indissoluble for life. Through this Sacrament, God provides the married couple with special graces to help them to live out their marriage.
The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that "makes the marriage." If consent is lacking there is no marriage (CCC 1626). For a marriage bond to be valid, both parities must consent to a union that is permanent (cannot be dissolved) and open to children.
EFFECTS OF THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE
The Effects of the Sacrament of Marriage are many and include:
- Formation of a permanent (cannot be dissolved) bond between spouses
- A special grace to help the couple to live their marriage vows (e.g. become a sacrificial self-gift to the other)
- Help them in forgiving one another, bear each other’s burdens and be subject to each other, and to love one another
In essence, the grace proper to the Sacrament of Matrimony “is intended to perfect the couple's love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children” (CCC 1641).
All Catholics are to be married in accordance with Church requirements; therefore, if you are interested in receiving the Sacrament of Marriage, please contact one of the Parish Priests at least one-year prior to your planned marriage. If you have questions about your own marriage, or about bringing your marriage into the Church, please contact one of the Parish Priests.
For information about Merciful Redeemer’s Marriage Preparation Course, please contact the Parish Office. Additional information on the Sacrament of Marriage can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1601 - 1666.