The Mission of Marriage

I once spoke to a teen that wanted to convert to Catholicism. I began by asking her a question, “What does it mean to be Catholic?” Thinking I was the wise teacher and eager to guide her in the faith, I was surprised that her answer would ultimately be a source of learning for myself. She responded, “What it means to be Catholic means to be more and more who we are, who we are called to be, and to be more human.” I wonder what it would mean to the girl if I asked what it means to be married? I surmise her answer might be, “To be married means to become more and more who they were created to be, namely, to be love.”

This is the mission of the married couple. Their mission is rooted and grounded in love, the love of God for them ultimately expressed through the sacrifice of Christ. This love that is given to them through their mere creation is expressed to the world through their mutual, total, life-giving love. They are to be a reflection of Christ’s love for His Church. “And since in God’s plan it has been established as an ‘intimate community of life and love,’ the family has the mission to become more and more what it is, that is to say, a community of life and love in an effort that will find fulfillment, as will everything created and redeemed, in the kingdom of God.”[1]

Husband and wives are charged to protect, defend, and cherish this love. They are on a mission, a mission similar to Christ. A mission that will have its ups and downs, good times and bad and a mission that will involve sacrifice and dying to self. “Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the church, His bride.”[2] Their mission is to become love and in and through Christ they can achieve just that. They can become images and sharers in this love and are charged with expressing it and living it out. As they participate in the love of the Trinity through being raised to the Divine through that of Christ, they truly can become love; love that is God Himself (1 Jn 4:8). The mission for a marriage is clear and it is simple:

“The family finds in the plan of God the creator and redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do….Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored and that specifies both its dignity and its responsibility: Family, become what you are.”[3]

For more information on this topic please see my blog post on “The Family: Center of Evangelization”: http://www.fathersforgood.org/ffg/en/husband_wife/archive/family_evangelization.html

[1] Ibid.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Pope John Paul II, 15.

2 thoughts on “The Mission of Marriage”

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