Sakramentalny charakter małżeństwa
Sobkowiak, Jarosław Andrzej
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The Sacramental Character of Marriage Summary “Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love”. Those words of St Paul’s from his First Letter to the Corinthians are a good introduction to the issue of the sacramental nature of marriage, which is the subject of the present paper. They show the essence of what marriage is built upon. Since marriage is concerned with love, it is also concerned with God Himself, who is Love. And He who is Love is also Mystery. A Christian marriage participates therefore in the Love as well as in the Mystery of God. In order to understand properly the sacramental meaning of marriage, we should broaden it by vision and understanding of a sacrament of undivided Church. It is here that the relation between a contract and a sacrament acquires full meaning. For the whole life of man, every moment of his existence is a preparation to share in special gifts of God’s grace. This attachment is a specific second creation. The second creation has its starting point in the symbolic entering into the Church community at the moment of baptism. The dynamics of this attachment consists of the fact that an internal change in human life is accompanied by an external sign. Each sacrament is a share in the mystery of salvation. It seems that in the teaching not enough stress is put on the saving aspect of the sacrament. Even the indissolubility is identified mostly with irreversibility as far as legal effects are concerned. But little notice is taken of the aspect of mystery and understanding of the sacrament as a way to salvation, a saving pilgrimage. The aspect of mystery reveals another vital element – it shows that an ideal image (of a covenant between God and the Church) appears only to get dispersed again. It is so because it is never given as completed, it is given so as to create it, just like in the work of creation man has got invited not into a ready and set world, but into one to be transformed by man and God alike. From the above -mentioned matters we can draw a practical conclusion: marriage as a sacrament is first of all a gift of God’s grace. The spouses do not belong, however, to the ideal area, but live this ideal in the everyday life marked by human weakness. They are capable of developing received grace, but – because of their weakness – they can also destroy that grace. This is the reason why the Church has a right to pronounce that due to wrongly understood “ratum” and “consumatum” the grace could not work and the sacrament virtually has not come to exist. But most important of all is to realise that “meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love”.
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