Faith/Spirituality Forum: spiritual marriage

spiritual marriage QUESTION from Aurora on January 28, 2003 Hi. What happens during a prayer of Spiritual Marriage? If I am asking this correctly.
Does this just happen when one is discerning the Will of God? Thanks
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 29, 2003 Dear Aurora:
I am not sure what you are asking or what you mean by spiritual marriage. I presume you are talking about Sacramental Marriage between two baptized people -- a marriage in the eyes of God.
In a Sacramental Marriage when the vows are freely given to each other and all other aspects are valid, the couple enter into an ontological relationship that is intimately united spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Ontological refers to being. The very essence of the couple, their very being, is united in a mysterious way. This bond can never be broken except by death. ...they are no longer two, but one flesh
The Catechism talks about marriage in several places. Here is an excerpt:

1603 The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws.... God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life. 1604 God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: And God blessed them, and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'
1605 Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: It is not good that the man should be alone. The woman, flesh of his flesh, i.e., his counterpart, his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a helpmate; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been in the beginning: So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but one body in Christ.
1622 Inasmuch as it is a sacramental action of sanctification, the liturgical celebration of marriage . . . must be, per se, valid, worthy, and fruitful. It is therefore appropriate for the bride and groom to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the sacrament of penance.
1623 In the Latin Church, it is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ's grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the Eastern liturgies the minister of this sacrament (which is called Crowning) is the priest or bishop who, after receiving the mutual consent of the spouses, successively crowns the bridegroom and the bride as a sign of the marriage covenant.
1624 The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God's grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church. The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity.
1626 The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that makes the marriage. If consent is lacking there is no marriage.
1627 The consent consists in a human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other: I take you to be my wife - I take you to be my husband. This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two becoming one flesh.
1628 The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear. No human power can substitute for this consent. If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid.
1630 The priest (or deacon) who assists at the celebration of a marriage receives the consent of the spouses in the name of the Church and gives the blessing of the Church. The presence of the Church's minister (and also of the witnesses) visibly expresses the fact that marriage is an ecclesial reality.
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