The first institution created by God Himself is the family—the union between man and woman for the benefit of the children, as well as for society. The Second Vatican Council and its documents constantly refer to the family as “The Domestic Church”—the Church in miniature.
Pope Saint John Paul II, who wrote the Letter to the Family, insists on the vital importance of the family. In fact, the family is the primary cell of society, as well as the primary building block of society. The pathway that the society follows depends on the family, its unity, integrity and solidity.
A summary glance of history highlights the inevitable fact of the importance of the family for the future of civilization. Almost all of the major civilizations declined, unraveled and dissolved for many reasons and underlying factors. However, of the most prominent would be the crisis of the family. Embedded in the society in crisis would also be a widespread proliferation of sexual license and immorality. Often indeed, the family is subject to major attacks when sexual immorality rocks the family boat, capsizes and sinks the family ship—captain, crew and all of the members.
“From the beginning God created them male and female. Therefore, the man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and they will form one flesh. Therefore, what God has united let no man rent asunder.” (Jn 19:4-5) This was and still is God’s original plan for man, woman and the existence of the family.
Once a man and woman bond together through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony countless graces and blessings flow from this bond, from this marital union. Holy Matrimony and the Family is indeed a vocation. By vocation is meant a true calling from God. Indeed, there is a real calling to holiness as Jesus stated emphatically, “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy”, in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
Through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, God endows and blesses the man and woman with special graces commensurate with and corresponding to the state of Marriage and family. Through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony both the husband and wife receive from God Himself special graces such as: the ability to grow in true love for each other, to be faithful to each other, to be open to procreation and bringing forth with God’s help new life—children, as well as to experience and live the joy of true Friendship with God, the Hidden Partner who is present every step along their pathway to Heaven.
Therefore, we would like to encourage all of those who have chosen the wonderful journey of the Marriage Covenant and commitment by highlighting the many benefits that flow from striving to live out the vocation and Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. God’s presence, grace, and Friendship is never lacking towards those who place their trust in Him. Indeed, “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Ps 124:8) and“If God is with us, who can be against us” (Rom 8:31).
With the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony you can truly rejoice in these many blessings and still many more…
GOD’S GRACE. By grace is meant His indwelling Presence in the soul. Indeed the name EMMANUEL is so true: “God is with us.” If we have a deep inner conviction that God is with us and we are never alone, then we can experience a peace that goes beyond our wildest imagination. When a child knows that his mother and father are present, he experiences security; lacking knowledge of their presence, the child lives penetrated with fears.
GRACE OF FAITHFULNESS. With Holy Matrimony, God’s grace also entails the safeguard of faithfulness. True, adultery exists and can grow by leaps and bounds, but this is due to our unwillingness to correspond to the Sacramental graces of Holy Matrimony. Whoever plays with fire will get burnt. However, the grace is always present to reject the evil and to accept and do the good.
BLESSINGS OF CHILDREN. No doubt, one of the primary purposes of Holy Matrimony is that of PROCREATION. This key word PROCREATION actually means the art of creating a new life by collaborating with God the Creator. Actually, the husband and wife provide the material means for procreation of the new child. However, in the moment of conception, God Himself intervenes and infuses the immortal soul in that new human being. That soul will exist for all eternity!
1. RAISING OF CHILDREN: FEAR OF THE LORD AND LOVE OF GOD. Obviously, it is not enough to simply conceive the child, allow the child to be born, and say mission completed. Quite the contrary, the raising of the child in the Fear of the Lord and the love of God, and all that refers to God, flows from the reception of Holy Matrimony. Husband and wife, father and mother, loving God and expressing their sincere love for each other is a powerful means to infuse their children with an authentic love for God in their own lives.
2. STABILITY AND PERMANENCE IN MATRIMONY AND THE CHILDREN. Without the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, a man and woman simply living together have no permanent commitment. Therefore, when times get tough and the initial sentimental and romantic feelings disappear, and another person appears on the scene, how easy it is to jump ship and abandon the children for another partner. Holy Matrimony lived with sincerity and truth establishes both stability and permanence. As a consequence, the children experience a deep sense of security, a sense of concern and love for them that can help them grow to be well-formed and emotionally stable and happy sons and daughters of God.
3. RAISING THE CHILDREN: THE WORK-LOAD IS HALVED. If husband and wife, father and mother, collaborate with the Sacrament of Matrimony and have children then both can work as a team in raising their children. The burden is cut in half. Jesus said: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt 11:30) Spiritual-physical-emotional family teamwork diminishes considerably the arduous task of forming children.
4. FAMILY-LIFE IS HEAVEN-BOUND. Another priceless gift that flows from the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and the authentic Catholic family is the accomplishment of the primary goal and purpose of all of us: to get to Heaven! When Father and Mother, husband and wife, live out their Sacramental life to the fullest by participating in the Sacramental life of the Church, the children receive a bountiful down pouring of graces. Seeing Mom and Dad receiving Holy Communion with faith, love and fervor is a powerful magnetic force that can attract and pull their children into the same practice. Words can be cheap, example most powerful!
5. AUTHENTIC OUTPOURING OF LOVE. The husband and wife, the father and mother, who strive to live out the Gospel’s mandate of love, “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15-12), pour forth this love on their children. In a word, we all want to be loved but we cannot give what we do not have ourselves. Once the couple experience God’s overflowing love, they can love each other, and then that love pours down upon their children. Permeated by God’s love flowing down from the hearts of loving spouses and parents, these children can radiate and transmit love in a world so inundated by egoism and selfishness.
6. GOOD ADVICE THAT LASTS A LIFE-TIME. Also flowing from the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the grace of the Holy Spirit upon parents to counsel, to direct, to guide their children on the right path. Parents can help their children to choose the right Higher Education, the right profession, and finally the right life-vocation. The Gift of the Holy Spirit of Counsel comes from the proper reception of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
7. THE HOLY FAMILY AS MODEL. Of course, the best model for all families is the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Saint Joseph. Mary was and is the perfect wife and Mother, and Saint Joseph, the perfect husband and father. Clearly Jesus was the perfect Son. All true and authentic families should lift their gaze and contemplate Jesus, Mary and Saint Joseph as role models for their own lives and growth in holiness!
Closing prayer: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, make my heart like unto thine; Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I breath forth my soul unto thee.”