From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy:
During the past week we celebrated World Marriage Day and Valentine’s Day. And on these days we often focus on the great sacrament of marriage. In the Book of Genesis, it is the Lord’s intention and ideal that two people who marry should become one flesh. That ideal is found in the unbreakable union of Adam and Eve. They were created for each other, and for no one else.
As we know, this unbreakable union is also reflected in the sacrament of marriage. In marriage, a man and a woman are not only joined to each other, they are also joined to Christ. It is not just that Christ is a third party to this union. It is much more profound than that. Christ, who is the sign and sacrament of God’s presence in the world, is the foundation of that union. The couple then joins Christ as an outward sign of the love of God. They are able to open themselves to each other in love because God has first loved them.
In reflecting on a couple’s love for one another, a well-known Catholic author, Matthew Kelly, stated that the greatest gift we can give to another being is to allow him or her to simply see us for who we are, with our weaknesses and strengths; with our faults, failings, flaws, and defects, with our talents, abilities, achievements, and potential. We allow ourselves to share fully with that other person: emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually. We often see this in a marriage bonded in love. In marriage, couples do their best to give the gift of themselves as they strive within their human limitations to reflect the total giving of self by Christ on that cross.
As we reflect on the sacrament of marriage, we also remember those friends, relatives and neighbors whose marriages are troubled. We pray that they will turn to the Lord and seek reconciliation. We also remember those friends and relatives and neighbors whose marriages have not endured for one reason or another. We pray that they may seek the healing they need, especially when appropriate through the process of annulment available through the Catholic Church.
Next Saturday, many couples will renew their marriage vows here at Saint Brigid after the 5 p.m. Vigil Mass. They will affirm Christ as the foundation of their marriage. They will also affirm their love for their spouse and most importantly their love for Christ. As we reflect on the blessings of marriage, we are invited to thank them and congratulate them for faithfully embracing and living this noble vocation.