Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sacrament of Marriage

                                                    The Mass on the Day of Marriage

The following "Instruction before Marriage" was included as a preface to a little missalette used for "the Mass on the Day of Marriage" published in 1962.

The union then is most serious, because it will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate, that it will profoundly influence your whole future. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. You know that these elements are mingled in every life, and are to be expected in your own. And so, not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death.

Truly, then, these words are most serious. It is a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other, that, recognizing their full import, you are nevertheless so willing and ready to pronounce them. And because these words involve such solemn obligations, it is most fitting that you rest the security of your wedded life upon the great principle of self-sacrifice. And so you begin your married life by the voluntary and complete surrender of your individual lives in the interest of that deeper and wider life which you are to have in common. Henceforth you belong entirely to each other; you will be one in mind, one in heart, and one in affections. And whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this common life, always make them generously. Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome. Only love can make it easy; and perfect love can make it a joy. We are willing to give in proportion as we love. And when love is perfect, the sacrifice is complete….

No greater blessing can come to your married life that pure conjugal love, loyal and true to the end. May, then, this love with which you join your hands and hearts today, never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go on.

Back then before the Second Vatican Council, there were two main scriptural readings at every Mass. The following were used for the Mass on the Day of Marriage.

Epistle: Ephesians 5, 22-33. (Husbands love your wives)
Gospel: Matthew 19, 3-6 (the two shall become one flesh)

The wedding vows were exchanged before Mass actually began. The priest asked the bridegroom and the bride this simple question: "Do you take each other for your lawful wife and husband according to the rite of our holy mother, the Church?"

In turn the bridegroom and bride vow to take the other "for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."


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