MARRIAGE MATTERS, AND HOW?
There was a time when the words “and how!” meant the same as today’s “WOW” or “awesome” So that is what is meant by today’s rather ambiguous newsletter title. We are well into week 3 of the SACBC MARRIAGE AND FAMILY WEEKS campaign and MARFAM’S particular focus is on marriage education and enrichment. The ubuntu daily reflections are a kind of marriage catechesis and the Sunday ones more of an enrichment built around scriptures of the day.
Week 3 theme “Value and affirm the good” has a positive focus. It can invite consideration of how couples give glory to God personally and together through their particular gifts for their marriage.
Week 4 focuses on the cross and unconditional love which is accepting one’s cross but also communicating and sharing it, as well as accepting one another’s crosses. These could be a personal weakness or disability, a frustrating habit or the same in one’s spouse. Bearing with this is sharing in the Paschal Mystery with Jesus.
The articles MARRIAGE MATTERS and MARRIAGE AND AFRICAN CULTURE are published in full on www.marfam.org.za/marriage-matters
and/or in the FAMILY MATTERS magazine. Based on a Pastoral Letter by the late Archbishop Hunzhausen among other insights it promotes the importance of couple power in the Church and society too. Couples are too seldom seen being or doing together in our churches. Do we show reverence for this sacrament of Matrimony as we do for the other six?
Extracts: “Couples’ example should challenge us as people of faith to reach beyond the issues which divide us, to seek communion with one another and to open our relationships to intimacy and belonging. Scripture uses marriage as an allegory to reveal how God envisions his relationship to his people.
- No other facet of human experience as aptly describes the passionate and unreserved quality of God’s love for us.
- Nothing better mirrors God’s commitment to us than the relationship of husband and wife.
- Nothing better images his understanding, compassion and readiness to forgive.
- No other comparison serves as well to communicate the creative and hope-filled aspects of God’s love for the church, or the inexhaustible power of His love to heal the pains of our isolation, loneliness or estrangement.
- Sexuality, integral to the spirituality of marriage, expresses a unique kind of holiness, of oneness in life, experienced in sexual intimacy, as a calling to complete each other’s personhood. “
In my view it is not so much what we experience from participation in the Eucharist that we take home for our daily lives but it is what is lived day by day in the domestic church that we can and should bring to a shared celebration of the Eucharist.
In South African society there are many “lobola’d” couples who have completed the traditional African marriage requirements but who have not come to the Church to exchange their vows and receive a sacramental blessing. Others have been to Home Affairs. A good many people young and older co-habit without ever exchanging marriage vows.
If we truly understood and welcomed the graces and blessings of the sacrament maybe these couples would come forward. During this 3 yearly marriage campaign this has been promoted and sometimes accepted. See www.marfam.org.za/2018marriage for suggestions and preparations for celebrating MARRIAGE DAY ON 7 OCTOBER in parishes.
Priests often report they conduct dozens of baptisms, many funerals but very few weddings. Could it be correct to call “marriage the neglected sacrament?” And why, and how? Are we lay family people taking enough responsibility?