Sacrament of Marriage
Marriage and the Family
“Matrimony is the Sacrament which makes a Christian man and woman husband and wife, gives them grace to be faithful to each other and to bring up their children in love and devotion to God” (Zielnski)
Marriage is defined as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. (Marriage) Christianity defines marriage as a holy union under God. The church didn’t agree with the thought of divorce because marriage is a holy sacrament.
What is a sacrament? The definition of a sacrament is: “a visible sign of an inward grace, especially one of the solemn Christian rites considered to have been instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize or confer grace” (Sacrament) When it was announced that marriage would be considered a sacrament, it was hard to accept by many theologians. There are several reasons why it was hard to accept; however one of them is because marriages involved financial arrangements.
In Christian lives the importance of marriage is be able to co-habilitate with your spouse to create a family. Marriage is important in the Christian society. God had created man for woman and woman for man. That is why God created Adam and Eve. Sacrament of Marriage is entered into by one man and one woman which they pledge their love and fidelity to each other. They announce that in joy and in sorrow, sickness and in health for richer or for poor that they will be together until death due them part.
In the beginning of the teaching of marriage it came from the Old Testament. There was no discussion on getting divorced once married. They were considered “one flesh” and they weren’t allowed to separate. Marriage was seen and understood to be holy because they see the goodness and the presence of God in ordinary events of daily life holy. They husbands should love their wives as their own flesh. (Scott & Warren)
Before this time, in the earlier centuries, marriage wasn’t as much as the religious affair. It was a smaller private family gathering of celebration. The only requirement what the consent of both parents and partners. The ceremony was held at the bride’s house. Before there that ceremonies didn’t need to happen. It was assumed that once a man and a woman were living together for a while they were considered married. (Scott & Warren)
Once everyone started to accept that Marriage was a sacrament, the main understanding after that was that married couples to be “fruitful and multiply”. They started a marriage liturgy for a blessing. Following that was when the veil on the brides was started. Finally a nuptial blessing was by holding a traditional mass.
In my opinion St. Augustine was a big contributor to defining the development of Marriage. St. Augustine wrote a book called “The Good of Marriage”. In the book he discusses the three values of marriage, which are: fidelity, reproduction, and sacrament. Fidelity is the mutual love between spouses and the faithfulness and love for one another. It is stated that reproduction is suppose to play a vital role in marriage. The reason it is stated is because God wants you to reproduce to spread the word of God to your offspring. Having children is a blessing from God. The third value is sacrament. Augustine expresses that the state of marriage is a sacred commitment and isn’t something that should be broken. (Augustine)
In the Middle Ages, virginity was held to a higher level then marriage was. Some people have sexual desires, and to feel okay with it, they married. They weren’t marrying to be holy and to accept the sacrament but only to fulfill their desire. So marriage was often viewed as negative because it was just a way to fulfill their sexual desire. Sometimes Bishops wouldn’t allow newly married couples into church until one month after they were married. Another rule was they weren’t allowed to have...
Cited: Rt. Rev. Thaddeus Zielski, A Catechism of the Polish National Catholic Church (Scranton, PA 1974)
Marriage. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Web. Retrieved 11 August 2013. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marriage
Sacrament. Dictionary.com. Web. Retrived 11 August 2013. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sacrament
Kieran Scott and Michael Warren. Perspectives on Marriage.
Oxford University Press 1993
Augustine, Saint. Microsoft Encrata. 1994
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