Sunday, August 9, 2015

10 Reasons to have your marriage blessed by the Catholic Church

10 Reasons to have your marriage blessed by the Catholic Church
10: Because you need God in your life. Period. When is the last time you did something with the specific intention of becoming a more devoted Christian, and regretted it? Even if you don’t really understand the Catholic Church’s idiosyncrasies about marriage, how on earth could another Catholic, religious, ceremony for your marriage not be a beneficial expression of faith? Keep reading and you may be inspired.
9: Because you get to renew your wedding vows before a priest or deacon. How can you object to this? Why should you renew your vows before a priest or a deacon? Well…
8: Because you did not receive the sacrament of matrimony if you were married “outside” the Church. Yes, it is true. A Catholic recevies and enjoys the grace of matrimony as a sacrament only when they are marred in the presence of a Catholic priest or deacon, or when they obtain the Catholic Church’s express permission for their wedding in a non-Catholic ceremony. A Catholic marrying outside of these two circumstances, a ceremony with the JP, or even another religious ceremony, only results in a civil marriage. The Catholic Church recognizes that this commitment can be good, but this goodness does not approach that contained in the sacraments of Jesus Christ in his Church. When we speak loosely about having your marriage “blessed” by the Church, we really mean that you are participating in the rite to receive, finally, the sacrament of matrimony as Christian spouses.
7: Because the priest (or deacon) really will give an extra blessing, in addition to witnessing your vows and officiating at the ceremony. Here is a snippet of one of the blessing prayers: “may her husband entrust his heart to her, so that, acknowledging her as his equal and his joint heir to the life of grace, he may show her due honor and cherish her always with the love that Christ has for his Church”!
6: Because you are not supposed to receive communion as a Catholic if you went and got married without the sacrament. Think about it. There are only seven sacraments. We can’t just throw one under the bus and expect to have no consequences on the other six. Baptism, Communion, Confirmation (we hope), then Matrimony; they all work together.  Whether one skipped matrimony intentionally, or was just ignorant of the requirements for receiving the sacrament matrimony, either way it is worth respecting their proper order and relationship so as to get back on track. It does not mean you are excommunicated. The Church does not say you are a mortal sinner going to hell. The Church will continue to offer the sacraments, but you should receive them in a way that respects the way the Church gives them. Go get your marriage blessed, and you can get back on track for communion.
5: Because confession is also on-hold for those who are married outside the Church. Sure, it is not likely that someone will be looking for confession when they weren’t close enough to their priests to fulfill the requirements described in reason number 8, but just in case anyone was wondering.
4: Because you need the virtue of chastity, even in marriage. Sound odd? It shouldn’t. A marriage in which no virtue of chastity existed would not last a week. It would not even get off the ground, day-one, if one spouse did not have even the simple desire to maintain with the other spouse sexual exclusivity. That is a manifestation of purity right there, and God wants this fidelity to grow. Maybe you are not the super-religious type in your sexual ideals. Those who skipped the Catholic ceremony are certainly not practicing Natural Family Planning on the grounds that it is the “Church endorsed method” of virtuous family planning. But I guarantee you that something in the Church’s vision of chastity is going to speak to you if you approach the sacrament of matrimony with a faithful disposition.
3: Because God wants to turn your life upside-down in the best possible way. Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior, wants to enter into your life and marriage in a whole new way. The presence of Christ in the sacrament of matrimony is unique and fantastic. He takes a the bond that exists between two spouses, and he charges with his own strength, grace, and virtues. He not only begins to offer new graces for your married life when you receive the sacrament of matrimony, but he offers such grace that, if you are open to it, he will transform your marriage into an example of love so great that believers will look to you as one of the greatest visible examples of Christ’s infinite love.
2: Thinking along those lines, have your marriage blessed because of Louis and Zelie, Isadore and Maria, Montinus and Maxima, Henry and Cunegund. Why are these strange names given as a reason to have your marriage blessed by the Church? Because they were all husband-wife couples who both became canonized saints. They are happier now than any other couple, because the grace of matrimony helped them to become saints in heaven, so great that their virtue has been remembered by the whole Church.
1: So let me end with the greatest Christian Spouses ever: Mary, and Joseph. They got married prior to the existence of the Catholic Church, so, were they joined by the sacrament, or not? Well, let’s just say the grace in the middle of their marriage had a name: “Jesus!” That is what the sacrament of matrimony is all about. If you don’t need Jesus, then you don’t need the sacrament of matrimony. But if you do need Jesus, then you need to do everything you can to get closer to him. The sacrament of matrimony should now be evident as one of those ways for every married Catholic.