The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2364), states that the married couple forms “the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws.” It further states, “Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
As we know, Matrimony is one of our seven sacraments. Last weekend, we celebrated a special Mass at Saint Brigid honoring those couples in the Archdiocese of Atlanta celebrating the 50th or 60th anniversary of their marriage. Archbishop Gregory, while serving as the Archbishop of Atlanta, began a tradition of bringing couples together for an annual celebration. As previously indicated, he stated in an article in the Georgia Bulletin, “Remarkable moments deserve a special pause to praise God for His goodness and to celebrate the accomplishments of people’s fidelity to the promise made in their youth and then lived faithfully over a lifetime.”
Archbishop Gregory also stated, “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.” The Archbishop 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.”
The following prayer from the “Blessings and Prayers for Home and Family” provided by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops asks the Lord to continue to bless a couple celebrating 50 years of marriage. It could be applicable to one of our family members, friends or fellow parishioners:
Blessed are you, Lord, loving God of all creation:
You have made us your beloved and have showered gifts upon us.
Continue to fill their hearts with love for You and for each other.
Bless them, their children and grandchildren and all their relatives and friends.
Lead us all through this life to eternal happiness with You.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, we honor those couples celebrating their 50th or 60th wedding anniversary for their faithfulness to God and for their faithfulness to each other. They set a great example for all of us.