Christ, our beautiful Redeemer, with his body disfigured by the scourging of our sins, hangs from the cross—the means of our salvation. Taking on the sin of humanity and conquering death through fidelity to his Father’s will, Christ opens the gates of heaven, “It is finished.” (John 19:30). His supreme act of love reverses the sin of Adam and gains for us unity with God through a new everlasting covenant. It is the triumph of the cross.
As children of God, we, too, have a mission—to follow in the footsteps of Christ, seeking out God’s will in our lives and fulfilling it. In the sacrament of marriage, we are called to grow in holiness, loving our spouse as Christ loved the Church, by loving to the end. As the Catechism explains, “The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life” (CCC 1661).
Our marriage covenant, as a reflection of Christ’s covenant with his Church, flourishes when it exemplifies the sacrificial love of the cross. By staying close to the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, Christ transforms our hearts allowing us to follow him more closely. Throughout our marriage journey, joy abounds. Unfortunately, because of fallen man, so does suffering. This suffering is not the failure of our marriage, but a trial in which our love reaches a new level of self giving. In this suffering, we are closest to Christ, sharing in his redemptive act.
Our Lenten journey serves as a lesson for our lifelong marriage journey. Each Lent, we resolve to pray more, sacrifice or do something extra, all as a means to grow closer to Christ. These resolutions transform our soul allowing us to grow in holiness by reflecting on Christ’s passion so that we may share in his glory. Likewise, in our marriage, we must resolve to pray more, sacrifice more, and give more, to continually transform our marriage.
In the human love of marriage, the joys of love are a prepayment for its duties, responsibilities and sometimes, its sorrows…to capture love in a permanent form one must pass through a Calvary. The early transports of love are an advance, an anticipation, of the real transports that are to come when one has mounted to a higher degree of love through the bearing of a cross.
— Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
1. Make three resolutions to improve your marriage.
2. We all fail to love as we should in our marriages. Seek forgiveness and offer forgiveness.
3. Truly discern what God is asking for your family. Take time to seek God’s will in your life daily, be it more children, your children’s education, or how your family spends their time—asking God for guidance is crucial in making decision’s that will affirm God’s role in your lives.