Building a Culture of Love and Life
We’ve known all our lives that February 14 is Valentine’s Day, a time when we honor those we love. But arguably more significant and lesser-known celebratory dates about love precede the 14th, when roses and candy fly from shops into loved ones’ arms.
February 7-14 marks the annual celebration of National Marriage Week USA, and the second Sunday of February (the 10th this year) is World Marriage Day. In a 2018 letter to his brother bishops, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, of Philadelphia—chairman of the committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops—both celebrations present “opportunities to focus on building a culture of life and love that begins with supporting and promoting marriage and the family.”
As a believing community, we have a stake in every Christian marriage. The spirituality of married people enriches the life of the whole parish. Couples model the many ways we can live out our vocations, whether we’re married or not. Love, after all, is our common calling as Christians, whatever our state in life. Of the three things that last—faith, hope, and love—love is the greatest (1 Corinthians 13:13). As a prayer in the marriage rite proclaims, love is our origin, our constant calling, and our fulfillment in heaven. The prayers of the rite stress that the wife and husband are the sacrament, the living signs of God’s love—first to each other and then to the world. Learning to become that sign is a lifelong call, a constant divine whisper in the ear.
Rejoicing in God’s Grace-filled Gift
Marriage is a greater commitment than a promise made in a single sacramental moment. It’s an ongoing process of discovering and learning about God from the experience of married life. The spirituality of marriage, the sense that God is part of it through good times and bad, is what makes Christian marriage truly sacramental. A couple’s married life—through all of its various stages, from honeymoon to old age, is a gifted and graced journey through which husband and wife experience the power of God’s all-consuming love.
To ready more, subscribe to Liguorian.