All God’s people are called to holiness, and that holiness is available to all in and through their particular vocations. The Church teaches that married couples and Christian parents should follow their own proper path to holiness by faithful love, sustaining one another in grace throughout the entire length of their lives. The call to love is central to marriage as a sacrament and is also the heart of marriage as a vocation.
The Church teaches us that marriage is a natural vocation as it corresponds to human nature as created by God. God created us with a natural longing to be loved by another and to raise a family. When this marriage is between a Christian man and woman, it is sacramental in nature, and the natural vocation to marriage becomes something much deeper – a joyful call to follow Christ and a total giving of one’s life in love to a spouse and children.
God makes one existence of the two spouses – the Bible says ‘one flesh’ – in the image of His love.
This sacramental life begins at the wedding ceremony where the married couple themselves administer the sacrament of matrimony to one another. The priest is not the principal minister of this sacrament; the man and woman who marry one another are. Today many priests try to make clear that they act only as principal witness of the couple’s own conferring and celebration of the sacrament.
Nowadays, people usually think carefully before agreeing to marry. Important questions around commitment, sacrifice and practical issues like finances are asked. For Christians who are discerning marriage, there are deeper vocational questions as well. For example, listening to God’s call and discerning whether giving one’s life to Christ through marriage is God’s will and the right vocational path.
For those who enter into marriage, this vocation is not always easy but it is joyful and life-giving, a sign of love for Christ as well as for another person.