by Jacki Corrigan
The old Baltimore Catechism taught us that a sacrament is an “outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.”
While that simple description may not perhaps be as sophisticated as some of today’s explanations, it remains a viable summary of the meaning and nature of a sacrament.
While the description of a sacrament relates to every sacrament we have received, it becomes clearer to a couple as they journey through their years of marriage.
While many married couples don’t see that grace oozing over their married life, it is in the joys of married life that they give profound thanks to the God who has created them, the Son who has redeemed them, and the Holy Spirit who sustains them in both the good and the rough times.
As Archbishop Naumann prepares for the upcoming archdiocesan 50th wedding anniversary celebration, we have begun to receive priceless bits of wisdom from our 2011 jubilarians. Their married life gives testimony to the struggles, joys and faith that they embraced as they walked in love, forgiveness, in good times and in bad.
Their faith and fidelity guided them as they flattened the hills that often occur in a marriage — of anger, hurt and selfishness. They have accepted the grace God has gifted them with, and have used this grace to mellow their self-centeredness. They have been open to life. They have welcomed the children that God has entrusted to them. They have become a family that serves God and nurtures those in need. They have embraced the quest for oneness in the marriage. This oneness gives us but a brief glimpse of the Holy Trinity.
As we approach 15 years of gathering words of wisdom from the past couples celebrating their golden anniversary, the shared advice most prevalent in every year is “Keep God in your marriage.” This is followed closely by three other insights of the strength of 50 years of marriage: “pray as a couple,” “attend Mass together on Sundays,” and “never go to bed angry.”
God has equipped us with his grace to strengthen and guide us in our married life, and it is ours to use this grace to sanctify our relationship, marriage and family.
“When one reasons calmly and keeps the ideal in mind, it is not difficult to agree that the permanence of the marriage bond springs from the very essence of love and the family,” said Blessed John Paul II. “We love one another truly and absolutely only when we love forever, in joy and in sorrow, in good times and bad.”
The archdiocesan 50th wedding anniversary Celebration will be held on June 5 at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kan. Please call the family life office at (913) 721-1570 for additional information.