Marriage Is A Sacrament Essay

1999 words - 8 pages

A sacrament is any visible sign of God?s invisible presence. Matrimony is a sacrament of vocation and commitment to a life of mutual love and service. In the Roman Catholic Church the institution of holy matrimony was raised to the level of a sacrament due to the origin of the divine grace that made an indissoluble union, the union of Christ with his Church as his mystical body.The creation story in Genesis is the root of the Church?s understanding of the sacredness of marriage. ?The Lord God said: ?It is not good that a man should be alone?. ?Therefore, a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh? (Genesis 2:18,24). God himself created marriage ?in ...view middle of the document...

In the eyes of God marriage is absolute and final, ended only by death. ??Man must not separate, then, what God has joined together? (Mk 10:8). The basis of marriage according to St. Paul?s teaching, husbands loving their wives as their own flesh, doing what Christ does with the Church, was the sign of a higher union, Christ?s union with his Church (Eph 5:32). The first recorded wedding feast by the Apostles was at Cana. The presence of Jesus at this wedding made it special and sacred.In the early centuries marriage was not so much a religious affair. It was a private family occasion therefore there was no specific liturgies. The basic requirement for marriage was the consent of parents and mutual consent of the partners. This occasion was usually celebrated in the bride?s home and the bride?s father who conducts the ceremony. During that time a ceremony was not even required for one to be married. When a man and woman lived together for a year, they are presumed by Roman law to be husband and wife.The beginning of a marriage liturgy in the form of a blessing developed around the fourth century on the basis of secular customs after the Peace of Constantine. The Blessing for marriage given by celebrants often occurred when the veil was placing on the bride. Around the fifth century evidence found in Rome that the blessing which was performed by the Bishop gradually evolved into a liturgical celebration. This nuptial blessing was traditionally given during Mass.The main understanding of marriage by the Church during the second to the fifth century was based on God?s will of being ?fruitful and multiply?. An important member of the Church at that time greatly contributing to the development of marriage is Saint Augustine. Born on November 13, 354 Augustine, the Bishop of North Africa, is considered as the great Father of the Church. The Roman orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero inspired Augustine to become an earnest seeker after religious truth. He experimented with several philosophical systems such as Manichaeism and Neoplatonism before entering the Church, Augustine then became the Bishop of Hippo in 395. It was a period of political and theological unrest, for while the barbarians destroyed the Roman Empire in 410, schism and heresy also threatened the Church. Augustine combated the heresy of the Manichaeans. Some Manichaeans taught that marriage and having children were evil as they were connected with sex. According to the Manichaeans sex was ?filthy, dirty, and the result of sin and the influence of the devil?. He also engaged into two great theological conflicts with the sect Donatists and Pelagians. In the course of this conflict, Augustine developed his doctrines of original sin and divine grace, divine sovereignty, and predestination.Augustine discussed in his book, The Good of Marriage, the three values of marriage are fidelity, offspring, and sacrament. These three elements found in Scriptures are the basis of much of the...

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