Marriage is defined as a contract between two individuals. The definition over the years has evolved to accommodate the present same sex marriage in the contemporary society, which were non-existent in previous societies. Catholics, as evidenced by empirical studies around the world, have an acceptance of same sex marriages from a legal; perspective. Hence, as followers and constituents of same sex marriages, Catholics in a way view same sex marriages as religiously, ethically and morally appropriate. The shifts in the catholic ideals have been a fundamental basis for change in ideals as the Catholic Church seeks relevance in a changing contemporary world. Additionally, the values, which were in existence, in previous marriages, have shifted as people adjust to issues such as globalization and adoption of new cultures from other societies around the world. Hence, the value change and view of marriage from a catholic perspective has resulted in autonomy in terms of the conduct of the couple in the marriages and the moral grounds of institutionalization of marriages.
The catholic definition of marriage is a special union between a man and woman to bring forth an offspring (Catholic Church, 21). A marriage is usually celebrated in what is described as a nuptial mass. Essentially the prayer provided is an express indication of the values haled by the Catholic Church in terms of their relation with God in marriages. The first line of the prayer begins as “father all powerful and ever living God” (Catholic Church, 21). This line indicates of the consideration of God as omnipotent in the world.
He is responsible for giving life and existence to all that is in the world. Hence, an institution such as a marriage is irrelevant without the presence of God. A marriage is institutionalized with the aim of ensuring that the two individuals joined in the union through the covenant in the church, are able to stand firm until death. A marriage requires endurance and perseverance between individuals; hence, God comes as a strong force in ensuring that the two individuals in a marriage are able to endure each other through both happy and tough times, as he is all-powerful and ever living (The Holy Bible).
Man is essentially created in the image of God, hence a marriage between two individuals specifically man and woman is usually a sacred union as an individual is considered the shrine and holy temple of God. The second line “we do always and everywhere to give you thanks” (Catholic Church, 21). Hence, the prayer is essentially the only means of giving thanks to God for his ensuring and loving nature. The church and the congregation are united in a front during a mass to give thanks for the chance of uniting two individuals in marriage through the covenant provided by the Holy Scriptures. Hence, because God is powerful and loving he gives life, love, and thus enabling people to form unions such as marriages (The Holy Bible).
The third line in the second paragraph states, “You created man in love to share your divine life” (Catholic Church, 21). This line is express and appropriate for the occasion of a marriage in that, the two individuals seeking union in the church in the form of a marriage are brought together by the presence of love (Huebsch, 23). Love is a gift from God to humankind hence, God is love. God created man in his own image and blessed him with the gift of life because of his enduring love for humankind. Humankind has been saved from destruction as provided in the scriptures after the fall of man from the Garden of Eden. Additionally, he was saved from annihilation through the flood all due to the love professed by God who is the creator of all things in the world and the universe (The Holy Bible). The achievement of total love is only achievable through divine intervention in a corrupt society amidst societal prejudices and temptations. Hence, the divine intervention of God in marriage is essential for the two individuals united in the church to achieve true love and happiness for their co-existence together as one body in love given by God.
“We see this high destiny in the love of husband and wife, which bears the imprint of your own divine love” is a line, which indicates that the love of God granted to husband and wife is one this best and highest forms of love (Catholic Church, 21). This is because of the ability of the husband and wife to fulfill the duty granted by God of procreation and filling the earth. In essence, man and wife play a divine role in the creation and bringing offspring into the world. God is the creator of all things existent in the world. Hence, creation of new offspring through man and woman translates to the importance of a marriage in fulfilling the roles provided by God (Huebsch, 27).
This line indicates that the creation of man in God’s image is an essential virtue and asset, which should be guarded zealously. This is because marriage is a sacred institution whereby two temples of God and creations of God, which are made in his image, unite in love. God granted man and woman love in that they would be able to ensure their survival and fulfill the intentions of God through filling the world with offspring (The Holy Bible).
God created man and made him the keeper of the world. Man is created as a superior being in the world greater than all other creations of God in the world because he is essentially created in the image of God. Hence, the love of God was to ensure that man furthered the glory of God through his offspring. The term imprint is used in the prayer as an indication of the value of man to God. Man is an “imprint” of God (Catholic Church, 21). In essence, man is created in the image of God. He is the temple of God and thus is set out to conduct himself in a godly manner.
“Love is man’s origin” is the sixth line in the prayer (Catholic Church, 21). It indicates that the existence of man as a creation of God emanates from the undying and enduring love of God. Man was initially created in the image of God because God professed and loved man as his best creation. Hence, God granted man the chance to exist in the garden without troubles. However, the fall of man led to his eviction from the garden. God forgave man because of his love for his best creation. The fall of man and the ability of God to give man the chance to exist in the world out of his free will, is an indication of the profound love God has for man. God commanded man to fill the world but at the same time would ensure pain for his sins against God. Forgiveness is a virtue that is intertwined with love in that God gave man the chance to redeem himself after sinning with his companion, the woman. The beginning of a new life in the world with free world was based on the need for man and woman to exist in love because they were tasked with bringing a new breed or offspring (Huebsch, 33).
“Love is his constant calling; love is his fulfillment in heaven” (Catholic Church). This line indicates that man has been granted a heavenly obligation to ensure that he fulfills his role in cultivating and growing love in the world. This is a heavenly obligation in that man was created out of love by God, he was granted an opportunity after he disgraced the covenant he had established with God. However, he was able to establish a connection through Christ. God sent Christ to the world out of his profound love for man and sought to reestablish the earlier connection, which was in existence before the fall of man (Huebsch, 37).
“The love of man and woman is made holy in the sacrament of marriage, and becomes the mirror of your everlasting love” (Catholic Church, 21). This line is an indication of imprint of the love of God, which is essentially enduring and everlasting. Hence, the union of man and woman seeks to ensure that man and woman exist in a love that is enduring and everlasting. Hence, this is the reason that, in uptake of vows, the man and woman seek to ensure that only death shall separate them. Thus, marriage is an institution blessed and instituted by the church in the name and love of God.
Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2000. Print.
Huebsch, William. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: Gaudium Et Spes. Allen, Texas: Thomas More, 1997. Print.
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. New York: Harper Catholic Bibles, 2007. Print.