Ok. Here is a translation of the Holy Father’s catechesis on the sacraments on April 2nd during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Today we conclude the series of catecheses on the Sacrament of Marriage. This Sacrament leads us to the heart of God’s plan, which is a covenant plan with His people, with us all; a plan of communion. At the beginning of the Book of Genesis, the very first Book of the Bible, as the crowning of the account of production, it specifies: “God made man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them … Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and the two become one flesh” (Genesis 1:27; 2:24).
The married couple is the image of God: the man and the woman, not only the man, not just the woman, but both. This is the image of God: the love, the covenant of God with us is present in the covenant between man and woman in marriage. And this is really beautiful! We are made to love, as reflection of God and of His love. And in the conjugal union the man and the woman understand this calling in the sign of reciprocity and of communion of a complete and definitive life.
When a man and a woman celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage, God, so to speak, is “mirrored” in them, He inscribes in them His own features and the enduring character of His love. Marital relationship is the icon of God’s love for us. God, in reality, is likewise communion: the three Persons of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit have lived always and forever in perfect unity. And this is in fact the mystery of Marriage: God makes of the two spouses a single existence. The Bible uses a strong expression and states “one flesh,” so intimate is the union between man and woman in marital relationship. And this is precisely the mystery of marital relationship: the love of God that is mirrored in the couple that decides to live together in marriage. Therefore, man leaves his home, the house of his parents and goes to live with his wife and unites himself so strongly to her that the two become as the Bible states, “one flesh.”
In the Letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul highlights the fact that a really wonderful mystery is reflected in Christian spouses: the relationship established by Christ with the Church, a nuptial relationship (cf. Ephesians 5:21 -33). The Church is the Bride of Christ. This is the relationship. This means that Marriage responds to a particular vocation and has to be thought about as a consecration (cf. Gaudium et spes, 48; Familiaris consortio, 56). It is a consecration: the man and the woman are consecrated in their love. By virtue of the Sacrament, the spouses are invested in a true and proper objective, so that they can render visible, from simple regular things, the love with which Christ loves his Church, continuing to give his life for her, in fidelity and in service.
It is truly a stupendous plan that is intrinsic in the Sacrament of Marriage! And it is impersonated in the simplicity and also in the fragility of the human condition. We know well the number of challenges and trials the life of two spouses has. What is very important is to keep alive the bond with God, who is the basis of the conjugal bond. And the true bond is always with the Lord. When the family prays, the bond is preserved. When the husband prays for the wife and the wife prays for the husband, the bond becomes strong; one prays for the other.
It is true that in matrimonial life there are lots of challenges, numerous: work, lack of money, children having troubles– so many troubles. And so frequently the husband and wife end up being a bit nervous and quarrel between themselves. They quarrel– it is always so in marriage– in some cases even plates fly. However, we have to not become sad because of this; the human condition is like this. And the key is that love is more powerful from the minute there is quarrelling, so I always recommend spouses: Never end the day when you quarrelled without making peace. Always! And it is not necessary to call the United Nations to come to one’s home to make peace. A little gesture, a caress, a hello suffices! And until tomorrow, and tomorrow one begins again. And this is life; it has to be brought forward therefore, lugged forward with the courage of desiring to live it together. And this is wonderful; it is lovely! Married life is a most beautiful thing and we should guard it always, protect the children.
At previous times I have said in this square something that helps marital life a lot. They are three words that must constantly be said, three words that must be in the house: please, thank you, sorry [permesso, grazie, scusa]– 3 magical words.
Please, so as not to be invasive in the life of the partner. Please, but exactly what does this seem to you? Please, enable me.
Thank you: to thank one’s partner: thank you for what you did for me, thank you for this. The appeal of rendering thanks!
And as we all make mistakes, the other word which is a bit challenging to say, but which need to be said: sorry.
Please, thank you, sorry. With these 3 words, with the prayer of the husband for his wife and vice versa, with making peace always prior to the day ends, the marital relationship will go forward – the three wonderful words, prayer and constantly making peace.
May the Lord bless you and pray for me.