Marital Spirituality with Rev. Fr Andrew Manickam OFM Cap
Marriage is a sign of Christ's unbreakable love for his people.
Spirituality is a way to live out one's religious beliefs. A spirituality of
marriage, therefore, is a way to help husbands and wives live out the
vocation of marriage in light of faith. Catholic marriage has a distinctive
spirituality that is sacramental, communitarian, and missionary.
Marriage is sacramental because it is a sign of Christ's unbreakable love
for his people. It is communitarian because it creates and deepens a
permanent partnership of life and love. It is missionary because in Catholic
marriage couples are called to share with others the good news of their
relationship in Christ. A spirituality of marriage helps couples shape their
attitude toward life, and provides a framework for living one's marriage in
the light of faith.
In the Catholic tradition, a Sacrament is a concrete expression of Christ in
the world. The Eucharist, for example, is a sacrament. Within the
Eucharistic liturgy, through the words and actions of the priest, the
physical signs of bread and wine become Christ really present. Likewise, the
Church believes that marriage is a sacrament. In marriage, the couple's
life, love, and witness can make Christ visible to others. All sacramentally
married couples are invited to reveal Christ's loving presence and generous
action in the world.
Just as God is a Trinity of persons, community marriage also is
communitarian. Gaudium et Spes, a document of the Second Vatican Council,
states that couples form a permanent, life-giving community. We've already
described this relationship as sacramental, a sign of Christ's love in the
world. Sacramental couples live as communities that reveal God's blessings,
reach out to heal the brokenness of the family and the world, and share
their gifts with those around them.
Couples live as communities when they experience the blessings that come
from making a total commitment to another person. Making permanent
commitments is becoming rare; sacramental couples demonstrate that it is
possible. Another blessing of marriage is children. A couple's willingness
to be open to the gift of children, and to demonstrate the generosity and
sacrifice necessary to raise them according to Gospel values is a real
Couples also live as communities when they recognize and heal the brokenness
in their individual lives and in their life together. Brokenness is a part
of everyone's life; a spouse is in a unique position to heal the pain that
inevitably arises in relationship. Couples create sacramental communities
when they build a life of sharing with each other, with their families, with
local communities, with the church. As couples grow in their love for each
other, their communities of life and love enrich the larger communities in
Finally, sacramental marriages are missionary. Part of the joy of a
faith-filled marriage is showing others what it means to be in a loving,
Christ-centered relationship, and making known to others the gift of
faithful married life and love. Couples have the potential to show others
what it means to embody the life of the Holy Spirit within them. Married
couples, while never perfect, are missionary through the witness of their
lives and love in the midst of the world. They are characterized by openness
to the life of the Spirit within them, by loving service to their neighbors,
and by sharing their talents and blessings with and for the local and global
communities. As missionaries, married couples can witness Gospel values in
their daily lives.
A spirituality of marriage shows how couples reveal Christ, build community,
and reach out to others in love. It is a powerful way to describe how
Catholic couples live out their vocation of married life.