Save Your Marriage

A study was conducted and reported in several media outlets that fighting with one’s spouse can cause one to grow in obesity. If nothing else can prevent married couples from seriously arguing, then perhaps the threat of gaining weight can loom large in minds as a preventative measure.

It brings home again the nature of exactly what constitutes a Christian marriage. As we recently heard in the Sunday reading, St. Paul told the Ephesians 5:25-33, “…husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

The marriage bond of a man and woman is a great mystery, exhorts St. Paul. He adds that husband and wife should exhibit a mutual respect for one another to mirror the love that the Creator has for every human being.

The vocation of husband and wife in Christian marriage is, in many ways, similar to the vocation of priesthood in the sacrament of Holy Orders. The ordained priest is called to be, by his ordination, an “alter Christus,” “another Christ.” At the very core of his being, the priest is changed, ontologically, sealed with a sacramental mark and configured to Christ the High Priest.

The priest is called to not love exclusively, but to love expansively, to be Christ and to see Christ in and to all people and all places. He is called to minister to all whom he encounters, to minister to everyone in the name of Christ and the Church by word, by sacrament and also by his very presence, by living among the people of God, getting as Pope Francis urges us, “the smell of the sheep.” The priest does this as his vocation to help lead souls to heaven and, in doing so, to save his own soul.

The husband and wife in the sacrament of marriage are called to love each other exclusively, to have a permanent sacramental union, seeing Christ in each other and in turn, being Christ to one another. The husband and the wife are called to be “alter Christus” to each other, seeing Christ in each other.

This intense, mutual, reciprocal love mirrors that love which Christ, the Bridegroom, shows to His Church, who is His all-beautiful bride. This intense, mutual, reciprocal love spills out, so powerful is it that it cannot be contained and this love is shared with the world, giving that couple the blessing of children if God wills it, the creation of a family and the enrichment by life in the wider community.

Indeed, the union of husband and wife is a unique bond, a blessing for not only the couple, but indeed the world. Tensions, anxieties and difficulties will no doubt always arise in a marriage, but the couple does not have to suffer alone.

The Church, which is strengthened and enriched by the grace of marriage as a sacrament, is here to help. The Diocese of Brooklyn’s Office of Marriage and Family Life, in addition to offering Pre-Cana classes for those couples preparing for the sacrament of marriage, assists in marriage enrichment through programs and referrals.

Christian Rada is the new coordinator for Marriage, Family Life and Respect Life Ministry in the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. He may be reached by calling 718-965-7300, ext. 5541 or emailing crada@diobrook.org.

Also, check out the website: http://dioceseofbrooklyn.org/marriage/marriage-and-family/.

As we prepare for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and the Pope’s visit, let us renew our commitment to marriage as the unbreakable bond between a man and a woman that allows them to participate in the Lord’s plan for carrying on His creative action.

Don’t gain weight and help your marriage at the same time!