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A Note From Fr. Timothy

World Marriage Day

The history of World Marriage Day only goes back a little over 40 years when a number of Catholics in Baton Rouge petitioned their bishop to name Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) as “We Believe in Marriage Day.”  After a couple years during which many other groups around the world began joining in the commemoration, it was renamed to “World Marriage Day” and set on the second Sunday of February.  Pope St. John Paul II imparted his Apostolic Blessing on World Marriage Day in 1993, and it has continued to grow and change since that time.

I think it is a very important and necessary thing to recognize the important of marriage as a social and a sacramental institution.  Without bringing faith into the discussion at all, we can still acknowledge that marriage – the formally recognized union of a man and a woman in a personal relationship – has many benefits for the individuals themselves and all of society.  The committed relationship made for life can bring purpose and meaning to life that is positive and fulfilling.  Because it is not fickle or as subject to the changes of an individual’s whims, but has that component of permanence, it can be a refuge from the uncertainties and changes in the world.  Marriage inspires growth in individuals as they learn to look beyond their own interests to care for their spouse and children, promoting productive, stable members of society.  Within a marriage is far and away the most effective way to raise well-adjusted and happy children – the future of society.

In sacramental terms, marriage images Christ and his Church.  The committed, faithful, and fruitful love of husband and wife give witness to the world of God’s love for us.  God’s love for us is eternal and he will never abandon us.  Even when we turn away from God in sin, he continues to love us and call us back to reconciliation with him.  And God’s love is meant to be fruitful.  It should produce the fruit of good works in us, helping us to love God and neighbor.  It also should produce fruit in the world, calling others to also believe in the salvation Christ has won for us, and to teach the next generation of disciples.  This sacramental love, by definition, should include every one of those elements.  If any part were lacking, we would be somewhat remiss in truly calling it “love”.

Married couples who give faithful witness to that sacramental love, therefore, should be celebrated and supported.  Since marriage provides sacramental grace which helps couples be good husbands and good wives, we should encourage it.  We believe in marriage and that it fosters true love (divine love) in a world that so often lacks it.  May God bless all married couples and all those preparing for marriage.

A World Marriage Day Prayer

Father, as we prepare for World Marriage Day, we thank you for your tremendous gift of the Sacrament of Marriage. Help us to witness to its glory by a life of growing intimacy. Teach us the beauty of forgiveness so we may become more and more One in Heart, Mind, and Body. Strengthen our dialogue and help us become living signs of your love. Make us grow more in love with the Church so we may renew the Body of Christ. Make us a sign of unity in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Brother. Amen. ~ Fr. Bill Dilgen, S.M.M.

Fr. Timothy Gapinski