Intention for evangelization – The beauty of marriage
Let us pray for young people who are preparing for marriage with the support of a Christian community: may they grow in love, with generosity, faithfulness and patience.
Some people say that marriage has gone out of style and that these days aren’t the right time to undertake the adventure of getting married. And yes, it’s an adventure, a great adventure—or, as Francis says, “a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times complicated, but it’s worth making the effort.” In order to get married, as when preparing for any journey, you need to prepare yourself well. You need to understand that “marriage isn’t just a ‘social’ act; it’s a vocation that’s born from the heart,” as the Pope says in this month’s video. Go ahead and share this message of joy that reminds us that “sharing one’s life is something beautiful.”
Marriage is not merely a ‘social’ event but a true Sacrament that entails an appropriate preparation and an informed celebration. The marriage bond, in fact, requires the engaged couple to make a conscious choice that confirms their willingness to build up and strengthen the bond that can never be betrayed or abandoned. In the different Dioceses of the world, initiatives are being developed to make pastoral care of the family — which means, first and foremost, accompanying engaged couples toward marriage — better adapted to the real situation. It is important to offer engaged couples the opportunity to participate in seminars and prayer retreats which involve as animators, in addition to priests, also married couples with solid family experience, and experts in psychological disciplines.
Quite often, the very root of problems that come to light after the celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony is to be found not only in a latent and unsuspected immaturity that suddenly explodes, but especially in the weakness of Christian faith and the absence of accompaniment from the Church, in the solitude in which young spouses are generally left after the wedding. Only when they are faced with everyday life together, which calls spouses to grow on a journey of giving and sacrifice, do some realize that they had not fully understood what they were about to begin. And they find themselves unprepared, especially when faced with the magnitude and meaning of Christian marriage with regard to the practical implications linked to the indissolubility of the bond, to being open to pass on the gift of life, and to fidelity.
Thoughts by Fr. Andrij Hlabse, S.J.
Marriage is a tremendously beautiful Christian vocation meant to reflect that eternal and infinite faithfulness that Christ has for His Church (Ephesians 5:32). It is also a vocation, like every vocation, made up of the concrete ups and downs, joys and struggles of every-day life. In order to reach the goal of profound Christian witness in marriage, especially in today’s cultural context, young people need to prepare seriously before entering this call, so that they can live its gifts and challenges faithfully.
If we think of the wisdom of the Church’s practice, we notice that all those moments that introduce us into a vocation are accompanied by formation in the Church’s community. The Sacrament of Baptism is either followed (for children) or preceded (for adults) by serious catechesis; the Sacrament of Holy Orders is only received after many years of training. Those entering consecrated life only pronounce their vows after a special time of formation called “novitiate.” Why should marriage be any different?
Each vocation is a special way of living friendship with Christ. In marriage this friendship shines forth in the life-long commitment between one man and one woman, open to new life in children. Marriage is lived in the community of the new family itself and in the wider community of the Church, a kind of family of families. Every married path is unique, yet they all depend on the virtue of love to grow in that generosity, faithfulness, and patience that make every-day Christian witness possible.
Especially within a cultural context that promotes messages contrary to God’s plan for marriage, let us all help young people prepare to embrace faithfully the deep beauty and adventure of this Christian calling!
Daily Offering Prayer for June 21
Lord our God, you established marriage
as one of your first gifts to the human family,
and you sanctified it with your Son’s presence at the wedding feast in Cana.
You consecrated this bond of one man and one woman
as a Sacrament in your Church – a Sacrament that opens the door to a vocation
meant for the good of the couple, their children, and the whole world.
Lord, help us to recognize your plan for marriage as the gift it is,
showing us the way upon which you call so many people to holiness,
by living spousal love in family life with generosity, faithfulness, and patience.
Look especially with mercy on young people preparing for marriage, Lord,
and grant them the wisdom and courage to embrace your plan in full,
helping them by formation in their families of origin, among their friends,
and especially in the Church community.
May all young people live their marriage in a way
that truly reflects your unending love for the Church. Amen.
Prayer by Fr. Andrij Hlabse, S.J.
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) addresses the challenges facing humanity and assists the mission of the Church. We pray and work to meet the challenges of the world identified by the Pope in his monthly intentions, while walking a spiritual path called the “Way of the Heart.”
What is the process in the preparation of the prepared prayer intentions?
The faithful from around the world suggest papal prayer intentions in each country to their national office, which selects some of them and sends those to the international office of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network in Vatican City. Through prayerful discernment the international office selects a large number of them and submits them to the Pope to help his discernment. After his prayer and discernment he entrusts to the International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network the official set of monthly prayer intentions, which are then translated into the major world languages and published in print and digital formats.