These couples have committed themselves in a sacramental way to the Lord, and to one another. In our Church tradition, a man and woman are not only joined to each other in marriage, they are also joined to Christ. As the sign of God’s presence in the world, Christ is the foundation of their union. The couple then joins Christ as an outward sign of God’s love. 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, Catholic author and educator, Matthew Kelly stated that the greatest gift we can give to another person 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 strive to allow ourselves to share fully with each other, within our human limitations, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually.
Marriage also requires real openness to give and to receive. This openness requires trust in each other and trust in the Lord. In marriage, couples strive to reflect the total giving of self by Christ on the cross.
Reflecting on the vocation of marriage, Archbishop Gregory also stated that, “It is increasingly important to hold up those folks who have lived their vocational commitments – certainly not without mistakes, challenges, and failures – but with fidelity and steadfastness. We all know many wonderful people whose marriages or religious promises have not endured. And we love them nonetheless. However, in our society we also must hold up examples of people who have succeeded in fulfilling their commitments.” He also reminded us that, “Marriage and religious vows are relationships that are intended to mirror and witness to God’s perfect fidelity and enduring love. May all who live their vocational promises find the grace to be faithful and courageous as they provide a splendid counter-statement to the values that our society promotes and offers to the world.”
As we consider these words, and as we honor these couples, we can thank them for the example of endearing and steadfast love which they have provided for us.