The Sacrament of Marriage
"The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament"
(Code of Canon Law, can. 1055 §1; cf. Gaudium et Spes 48, §1)
Marriage is a state of life which was ordained by God from the beginning of our created existence as male and female made in God’s “image and likeness” (Gen. 1:26). As such, the Church recognizes the right of capable men and women—including non-Catholics—to enter into such a bond. While the marriages between two non-baptized people, and also between a baptized person and a non-baptized person, are not sacramental, it is still possible for them to be good and beneficial unions for the involved parties and for society.
But between the baptized, Holy Matrimony has been risen by our Lord Jesus Christ from simply a beneficial natural state of life to a life of sanctification in a holy vocation which receives its calling, its strength, and its sustenance from Christ Himself. Our Lord has made marriage, for his disciples, one of the seven sacraments of His Church—and He is therefore present, in a special way, in this holy bond.
Married Christians understand that their life together is not merely their own. They live as one in Christ and for Christ for their own sanctification and for the sanctification of their family and of the world. They understand that they have a special calling from God and therefore a special place within the life of the Church that is ordered toward the building of God’s Kingdom through, God willing, the procreation and education of Children, and through mutual encouragement in the spiritual life.
Resources for Married People from the USCCB:
If you think you may be called to this way of life with a particular person:
1. Ask yourself: “What are my motives for desiring this marriage?” “Are we ready to take on the responsibilities of parenthood?” “Are we ready to commit to this union until death, knowing that even if separation would be necessary remarriage would be impossible?” “Are we ready to turn away from our individual lives and live a truly common life of ‘one flesh’?” “Will this union help us to become saints, which is the purpose of life?”
2. Watch this video from the Knights of Columbus concerning the Vocation to Marriage:
3. Determine whether or not you are free to marry. Please make an appointment by calling the parish office at (918) 251-4000.
4. The preparation period before the wedding lasts at least six months.
The Issue of Annulments
If you have attempted marriage previously, have been divorced by the state, and now wish to ask the diocesan tribunal to examine your union to establish whether or not it was valid because you now wish to marry someone else (if you’re seeking an annulment) please remember that unless it is proven otherwise by the Church courts, or unless your spouse has since died, it must be assumed that you are still married and are therefore unable to be married again. You have the right to seek an annulment, and the pastor will be happy to assist you in this process. But know that before a wedding date can be discussed, and even before marriage preparations can begin, an annulment must be granted—a process that usually takes at least one year; and it should not be assumed that the decision will be “affirmative.” It is possible that at the end of the process a negative decision will be made, since for an affirmative decision there must be proof that the marriage was invalid.
If the decision is negative, then you must continue to live a life of continence and must refuse to attempt marriage outside of the Church. Many uninformed Catholics believe that marriage outside of the Church simply means that they cannot “go to Communion,” as if this were a minor issue. In fact, the reason that Catholics married outside of the Church cannot receive Holy Communion is because they are living a life contrary to the teaching of Christ and have therefore removed themselves, by their own choice, from full communion with the Church, as anyone does who commits serious sin and chooses to remain in such a state without seeking reconciliation.
People often get themselves into such situations during very difficult times in their lives—times when they often feel very far from God. Do not lose hope and do not be afraid! God wants only what is best for you—and we are here not to judge you or condemn you, but to help you find true fulfillment in life by following Jesus Christ our Lord. Please call the pastor at (918) 251-4000 to discuss how we can help.