This coming weekend, the universal Church celebrates World Marriage Day. Last August, I read a beautiful meditation on marriage by Father Hans Urs von Balthasar. Von Balthasar’s final words, “…marriage…is today more than ever entrusted to the care of Christians” call us all to protect and defend marriage as the union of one man with one woman designed by God in the image of the Trinity. I share this reflection with you today hoping that it blesses you as it blessed me.
Let us commit to praying for all marriages – for those newly married and those married many years, for stuggling marriages and happy ones, for those who have lost their soulmate in death or divorce, for those who seek marriage and the spouse God has planned for them. Let us pray, too, for the protection of the institution of marriage as God designed it.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! Anne
What could be stronger than marriage, or what shapes any particular life-form more profoundly than does marriage? And marriage is only true to itself if it is a kind of bracket that both transcends and contains all an individual’s cravings to “break out” of its bonds and assert himself. Marriage is that indissoluble reality which confronts with an iron hand all existence’s tendencies to disintegrate, and it compels the faltering person to grow beyond himself, into real love by modeling his life on the form enjoined.
When they make their promises, the spouses are not relying on themselves – the shifting songs of their own freedom – but rather on the form that chooses them because they have chosen it, the form to which they have committed themselves in their act as persons. As persons, the spouses entrust themselves not only to the beloved “thou” and to the biological laws of fertility and family; they entrust themselves foremost to a form with which they can wholly identify themselves even in the deepest aspects of their personality because this form extends through all the levels of life – from its biological roots up to the very heights of grace and of life in the Holy Spirit. And now, suddenly all fruitfulness, all freedom, is discovered within the form itself, and the life of a married person can henceforth be understood only in terms of this interior mystery…which mystery is no longer accessible from the profane sphere of the general.
But what are we to say of the person who ignores this form and tramples it underfoot, then to enter into relationships answerable only to his on psychology’s principle of “this far and no further”? He is but quicksand, doomed to certain barrenness. The form of marriage, too, from which derives the beauty of human existence, is today more than ever entrusted to the care of Christians. (Magnificat, Vol. 14. No 6., pp. 246-247)