Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1534
Matrimony – perhaps surprisingly – is not merely ‘tying the knot’: this sacrament mirrors Christ’s relationship to His bride, the Church. Filled with immense symbolism and significance, it is – as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says – ‘the… covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to 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’ (n. 1601).
The Catechism places Matrimony in the final place, the last of the seven sacraments: as a mirror of the Love between Christ and the Church, it is made manifest each day in acts of kindness, compassion, self-giving and nurturing.
The following books may be of interest if you would like to learn more:
- Family and Life: Pastoral Reflections, by Pope Francis, Paulist Press, 2015
- For better, FOREVER: A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage, by Dr Greg & Lisa Popcak, Our Sunday Visitor, 2015
- Marriage: The Rock on Which the Family Is Built, by William May, Ignatius Press, 2008
- The Seven Big Myths about Marriage, by Christopher & Jennifer Kaczor, Ignatius Press, 2014
Catholic Marriage Care has produced a helpful guide for those intending to celebrate Matrimony in the Catholic Church.