Category Archives: Matrimony

Vision of A Lady Dressed for Matrimony and Understanding Metaphorical Marriage With God

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass yesterday morning, as the distribution of the Eucharist began during Holy Communion, I looked up, and in my mind’s eye, I saw the beautiful image of a lady dressed for her wedding. She was standing in the sanctuary to the right of the priest, our parochial vicar, who was facing the nave and distributing the Blessed Sacrament. She was also facing the people who went up to receive Jesus.

She was fully covered in a white matrimonial gown which appeared to be made of linen with pearls woven in (there were shiny glimmers here and there). There was no silk, no saffron veil, but all like a finely woven embroidery of linen covering her hair and face and draping over her gown. She was just standing there, her arms covered under her gown and veil.

This inspired in me the thought of a real Wedding Banquet, and the holiness of what we should be thinking when we approach the sanctuary during Holy Communion. The image was brief, but I saw her. Who was she? Was she a vision of Holy Mother Church?

Hear how St. Isaiah the Prophet writes of God’s love for the Church as His bride:

For your Maker is your husband,
    the Lord of hosts is his name;
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
    the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
    like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
like the wife of a man’s youth when she is cast off,
    says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing wrath for a moment
    I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,
    says the Lord, your Redeemer.
[Isaiah 54:5-8]

Hear how St. John the Baptist speaks of the Lord as Bridegroom to His Church:

He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. [John 3:29]

Who is the bride here? We assume it is the Church after the imagery of Isaiah (and other prophets), and that the bride is not necessarily happy since it is only the friend of the bridegroom who is said to be happy. Hear also how St. Paul joins in to teach the reality:

For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. [Ephesians 5:29-32]

And with St. Paul, we see atheists Lord’s role as Bridegroom confirmed and understand more fully the Lord’s intentions to care for the Church as His Bride.

I think the image, then, was a reminder to us about the Lord’s intentions for the Faithful – that He give us a most Holy spouse in Himself, and that we be treated such that we may become healthy enough to respond to His call to be like a holy spouse in that divine metaphorical matrimony and marriage, the actual application and eternal living out of which remains veiled in mystical secrecy…and misunderstandings as a result.

Now, I think that many people, including devout religious, misunderstand this mystery of the metaphorical bridal imagery. I have misunderstood it, too. I’m sure that there are people who go after the religious, celibate life seeking something like a human marriage with the human person of Jesus Christ – an imagined, “perfect husband” who is found and intimately experienced in the heart and mind. However, those who follow this line of thought may easily be led into a fallacy, the fallacy of a real human marriage. This is not a human marriage – it cannot be; for how can a temporary institution be applied to an eternal state of being where that human institution, and elements of it, is no longer in effect? For as Jesus the Lord Himself revealed regarding the human institution,

…You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. [Matthew 22:29-30]

How do the angels of God live, and can their lives be spousal as we understand the word? We assume that we know about angels, but we do not know in fact since we are not angels and do not experience the life of angels. So, let us clearly state now that our relationship with God is metaphorically marital and monogamous, not really marital and monogamous in the sense of a real human marriage, and is somewhat like the little-understood lives and relationships of angels with God.

We can continue to build our understanding of metaphorical marriage with the Lord, and entrench our understanding of a requirement for metaphorical monogamy with God in the command which comes from God Himself,

you shall have no other gods before me. [Exodus 20:3]

Also, as the Lord commissioned Moses to teach to the Chosen People, Israel, a teaching which the Lord Jesus validated, we can understand a commanded metaphorical monogamy, not only between our current generation and the Lord, but also between our future generations and the Lord since we are to teach our children to also love God in a metaphorically monogamous way:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead,  and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. [Deuteronomy 6:4-9]

And, in summary, the vision of a lady dressed for Matrimony reminds us of the Lord’s faithful intentions for the Bride, the Church, in a metaphorical marriage with Him, and also the expectation that the Bride is or will become prepared to fulfill that honor, with a mind set for monogamy and, with that monogamy, the loving and dedicated care of the Lord.

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What if Pope Francis Allows Clerical Marriage?

  What if God inspired Pope Francis like this: “Pope Francis, while sitting and reflecting on the Wedding at Cana, fell into a trance. In his trance, a large sheet unfurled from heaven like a large drive-in movie screen. On the movie screen were images of all of the patriarchs and of all of the prophets and of all of the apostles who had married, and even of the Holy Family, of faithful Joseph who had married a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary who was pregnant with Child, presumably out of wedlock, and then an image of all of the multitude of priests and religious who had failed in their commitments to celibacy – too many who had gone to hell or who were still in purgatory, and the multitude of the myriad thousands who had also been led into hell and into the deepest recesses of purgatory by the immoral examples of some priests and religious over the last 20 centuries. And then the Voice said:

Francis, betroth and marry!’

And then Pope Francis said,

 ‘No, Lord, I could never do that nor ask my priests to feel free to do so! The marital act would bring uncleanness upon my priests and defile your sanctuary and turn our priests toward their wives and families instead of setting their hearts on the Bride, the Church!’  

And then the Voice spoke these words:

‘Do not call unclean what I, the Lord! the Lord! the Lord! have made clean!  Too many have been lost by the unfaithfulness of some of my priests!  Betroth and marry, and raise children, and by your good example, make my Bride ready, and then lead my Bride along the safe Way to My Wedding Feast!’

What if he saw this image and heard these words 3 times, and then pronounced a new discipline of a marital option for priests?

This image is not far off from the scene from the Acts of the Apostles where God declared pork to be clean:

The Vision of Peter [Acts, 10:9-16, NAB Holy Bible]

 The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime.

He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance.

He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners.

In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky.

A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.”

But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.”

The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.”

This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into the sky.

Call for New Sacrament of Reconciliation: For Marriage

Holy Matrimony in the Presence of the LORD Jesus Christ Who bestows His Grace on their union.

Holy Matrimony in the Presence of the LORD Jesus Christ Who bestows His Grace on their union.

I propose a new form be added to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but for the help of marriages.

There is the Sacrament of Matrimony in which the husband and wife make a covenant to give themselves to each other for their earthly life and in which Grace is given to help the spouses live out their marriage in accordance with God’s plan.

However, there is absolutely no documented sacramental form or means directly available for the reconciliation and strengthening of that matrimonial bond when it has come under attack leading to the loss of Grace and making possible the deconstruction of a marriage which was meant to prosper and bear earthly fruit for the Kingdom of God.

The Baptized go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for their reconciliation with God and for the healing of their individual souls, but marriages are relegated to the general help of the wisdom and support of other couples (sinners who are not ordained ministers) in the parish community.

CHURCH: WAITING UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE TO HELP THE COUPLE?

Why aren’t waning marriages handled through a Sacrament of Reconciliation for Marriages?

Why does the Church, in some cases, ill-prepare couples and then wait until the “shipwreck” of the marriage, stepping in late in a reactionary way (instead of proactive way) with programs like Retrouvaille and the long and painful process of deconstructing what was thought to be an irrevocable marriage bond through the canonical Annulment process?!  Far too much damage has been done by this time.

Where is the proactive help which works with young, married couples as they build and strengthen their commitments together – throughout their marriages?  Where do couples go to refresh their matrimonial bonds?

LET THE LORD GIVE THE CHURCH A NEW HELP:  SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION AND REJUVENATION OF MARRIAGE

I propose a draft outline for the new Matter/Form the married couple, to be added within the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Rejuvenation of Marriage.  I do not propose a new Sacrament, but a new form for the healing and strengthening of marriages:

Matter

  1. Sins against the gift of marital unity
  2. Sins against the gift of marital fidelity
  3. Sins against the gift of marital fertility

Form

  1. Act of Contrition unique to the Marriage Covenant and what it means for eternal salvation.
  2. Absolution for sins committed.
  3. Mutual recommitment of the couple to their original marriage covenant, witnessed by a priest.
  4. Blessing of the restatement of the marriage covenant.

Means

  1. Grace which strengthens the desire for the gift and attainment of deeper marital unity in which the two indeed become one in Christ.
  2. Grace which heals damage to the gift of the irrevocable marital / conjugal bond.
  3. Grace which strengthens the prudent and temperate desire for the gift of marital fertility.

Credit for picture:  Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals, http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/