Our thanks to our friends from http://www.teamsgb.org.uk/ for sharing this inspiring reflection from Canon John Udris, Spiritual Director at St Mary's College Oscott
Reverend Roger Carr-Jones Marriage & Family Life Co-Ordinator
What does it mean to say a marriage between two baptized Christians is a sacrament? What is the difference between a sacramental and non-sacramental marriage? What are the effects of the sacrament and specific graces associated with it? What are the daily fruits we can expect from it and what does this imply for our marriages?
This is to clarify and give expression to your own experience and perhaps give you something you can use as a strategy to weave into the way you live out your marriage.
We all need a God that is real. A God we can touch and feel. And God knows that too. That is why he became flesh in the Incarnation and that is why he gave us the sacraments – to enable us to continue to encounter the power of that Incarnation. To experience consistently, infallibly, his touch, his intimacy, his embrace.
Christian marriage is meant to be the place where you encounter the closeness of God, the embrace of the Almighty in and with and through each other. As a child once said, “Sacraments are like God’s kisses.” A sacrament is “an outward sign of an inward grace.” A sign that brings about what it signifies. Christian marriage is one of God’s kisses – one of the most powerful and intimate of his embraces.
You are baptized and then married in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurs on both of these occasions. We invoke the Holy Spirit to unite, seal and strengthen the couple as the two become one. It is the action of the Holy Spirit that we experience as the heart of the Christian marriage. He is the one who is hard at work in that sacrament every day of your married life. He does the uniting, the binding, the mending, healing and reconciling. Invite the Holy Spirit every day to be the Kiss between you and your spouse.
In the sacrament of marriage, the natural bonds between us are strengthened by the supernatural ones, to enable us to love, for better for worse, for richer, for poorer. The Holy Spirit inspires and sustains our love and is the healing at the heart of our relationship. In a Christian marriage, you are called to be the living Jesus for your spouse. You are called to makes Jesus real, someone you can touch and feel. And that is the role of the Holy Spirit – to enable you to do so. You are also called to be Jesus to all those around you – to make his presence real – to show his love for everyone. To let Him live again in your love for them.