Parish Prayer Day for Marriage and Family Life
Monday 20th February 2023
Proposed Theme: All Married Couples
The Joy of Love (Pope Francis):
As Christians, we can hardly stop advocating marriage simply to avoid countering contemporary sensibilities, or out of a desire to be fashionable, or a sense of helplessness in the face of human and moral failings. We would be depriving the world of values that we can and must offer. (No. 35)
The safeguarding of the Lord’s gift in the sacrament of matrimony is a concern not only of individual families but of the entire Christian community. (No.87)
- Christian tradition sees marriage as a life-long commitment between a man and a woman. This comes from the Scriptures of both Testaments and is based on the complementarity of the sexes as created by God in God’s own image. This of course is challenged today by the call for same sex marriage. We have to find our way around this complex question without compromising our beliefs.
- Our Catholic tradition acknowledges marriage within the community of the Church as one of the seven Sacraments. This is a huge act of faith in the importance of this love relationship. We recognise this relationship as different from all other relationships and that it is vital for the health and wellbeing of
both Church and society. This is challenged by the phenomenon of so many couples living together without marriage. We have to find our way around this equally complex question without letting our vision for Church and society become diminished.
- We proclaim marriage as a permanent commitment – ‘all the days of my life’; ‘until death do us part’. Divorce is a very real part of our world. Many marriages break up for all kinds of reasons. How do we hold our belief in the permanence of marriage while being compassionate towards those marriages that don’t work out?
- We hold that marriage is also an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. Many societies allow for polygamy where there can be multiple marriage partners. There is no doubt that our world could easily go in this direction too. How can we hold up our vision of a permanent, exclusive marriage relationship of a woman and man that becomes a Sacrament within the context of the Church without ignoring the realities of the world we live in and without alienating others? It is indeed a very difficult challenge today.
The one thing we can and need to do today as a parish community is to honour and support all those couples who are married among us. As part of their commitment to one another we, as a community, have committed ourselves to them to recognise their special grace for the Church and for the world.