Couples remembered the promises made to each other before the Lord in the sacrament of marriage at a World Marriage Day Mass Feb. 24 at the Church of the Holy Spirit, celebrating the event in which they united their lives through an indissoluble bond.
“You have been living out the sacrament of holy matrimony in your marriages so faithfully and so well! I recognize the sanctity of your calling, and I know that your sacrament is a way to holiness for you,” Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, told the couples celebrating milestone anniversaries. “This is something that is inspiring to me, but also something inspiring to the world. Faithfulness and the willingness to live out a life-long calling is a great witness in the midst of our times.”
The archbishop also acknowledge that, of course, the calling to love and faithfulness is not always easy; that just as priesthood stands at the foot of the cross of Jesus, so does marriage, and just as the consecrated life is a witness of the gospel to the world, so is marriage. “The love you bear for one another, and with one another, is a sign of the Kingdom of God present in our times,” he said.
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has spoken about the value of the witness of marriage as a life-long commitment in the midst of what he has called a “throw away” culture.
“Marriage is an act of faith between a man and woman who are both fragile and limited, but courageous enough to follow Christ and seek to love each other as he loves them,” the pope said during a Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Archbishop Gustavo elaborated on that quote: “To love each other as Christ loves you! Wow! What a great calling! And it means learning to treasure each other with tenderness, humility, and the willingness to endure.”
The readings at the liturgy — from Deuteronomy and Matthew — were from the season of Lent, where all are reminded of the call to be faithful to the covenant God has given to us. “The love that Jesus calls us to as disciples and missionaries is a love that sacrifices, that goes the extra mile,” said the San Antonio prelate. “We know that marriage is not always easy. Sometimes its never easy!”
“Living together as a couple is “an art, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey … which can be summarized in three words: please, thank you and sorry.” Pope Francis stressed at a meeting with engaged couples at the Vatican on St. Valentine’s Day 2014.
An Italian psychiatrist even noted that the pope’s insight into marriage was remarkable for a man who had never been married.
The Missionary of the Holy Spirit said that pontiff hit the nail on the head when he brought up those three simple words that make a marriage a success! “Please.” “Thank you.” And, “I’m sorry!”
“Truly, the life of the whole world would be changed if we all learned to say those words every day!” said the archbishop.
At that same meeting with engaged couples in 2014, the pope cut to the essence of how we must conduct ourselves in marriage and family life. He said, “True love does not impose itself with hardness and aggression. . . . St. Francis said that ‘courtesy is the sister of charity.’ . . . Today, in our families, in our world . . . there is a need for far more courtesy.”
“As we celebrate your wonderful anniversaries today, let us do so with courtesy toward one another, and with hearts renewed in the virtue of hope,” Archbishop Gustavo concluded.
A highlight of the liturgy was the rite of blessing of spouses. At that time the couples recited these words to each other. “Blessed are your, Lord, for you have assisted us with love in the joys and sufferings of our live. We ask you to help us to maintain faithfully our mutual love, that we may be faithful witnesses of the covenant you have established with men.”