Pastor's Corner

2021 09-10  The Image and Likeness of God are Present in Marriage

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Last weekend, Archbishop Hartmayer celebrated a special Mass at Saint Brigid honoring couples in the Archdiocese of Atlanta celebrating the 50th or 60th anniversary of their marriage.  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 but 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, as previously noted, Catholic author and educator, Matthew Kelly indicated that in marriage, 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.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has a great appreciation for the vocation of marriage.  As reported in the media outlet, “Vatican News”, he called marriage “a silent homily.”  He prayed that the Lord “might give to the Church and society a more profound and more beautiful understanding of marriage so that we all might be able to appreciate and reflect upon (the fact) that the image and likeness of God are present in marriage.”

In the following “Wedding Anniversary Prayer”,  from a couple thanks God for blessing their union:

Heavenly Father, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for Your continued blessings on our union that has enabled us to reach another anniversary.
We thank you for letting our love deepen and for helping us in time of trial.
We know that without Your assistance we would never have remained so close as we are.
We ask You to continue to watch over us, over our homes and families.
Help us to renew our vows of love and loyalty and to strive to remain united with you, steadfast in our faith, and united in your service.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and the words of Our Holy Father, we are encouraged to give thanks to our anniversary couples for truly embracing the vocation of marriage, and for the profound example of endearing and steadfast love which they have provided for us.


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