September: Reflection Nine

THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 1601. “The matrimonial covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptised persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”

Read and reflect on the story.

Mrs Mazibuko always felt a little uncomfortable when she had to deal with topics to do with family life in her confirmation class. Many of the children were living in single parent families, mainly mother-headed, and many had little or no experience of marriage and yet she wanted them to see it in a positive light.

She began her class with a question, “Who of you is planning to get married one day?” The teenagers looked at one another and only a few put up their hands. “Why is it that young people have a negative attitude towards marriage?” was her next question and so the group discussed and shared some of their negative experiences and also the fear some of them felt. They recognised a fear of commitment, fear of losing one’s freedom, fear of failure and the pain of divorce as well as a fear of the abuse and violence they had seen at times.

Mrs Mazibuko let them discuss the topic for a while and then wrote up on the board. ‘PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR’. “Where do you think that comes from?” she asked and then explained, “The passage in 1 John 4:18 tells us that if you’re afraid of facing a person or a situation in your life, God’s love can help you put your fears to rest. God is the 3rd partner in a happy marriage,” she added. “That is what the grace of the sacrament of marriage is about.  With God in their marriage a husband and wife are able to give themselves to each other fully, to sacrifice for one another and their family and to experience their love, which is God’s love, more deeply. Isn’t that love something worth aiming at?”

Questions for reflection and action.

Why are some people reluctant to get married in Church today?

What are some of the challenges facing married couples in their daily lives?

What kind of picture does the media give us of marriage?

Do people understand that marriage as a sacrament is intended to make God’s presence felt in the lives of the couple, their children and the Church?  How can this be promoted?    

Are cultural practices like paying lobola still important and valuable today?  

Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Reflect on the ways in which Jesus showed his love and how this can be used as an example for us to follow.

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