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For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church. (Eph 5:31-32)

Do you know the point of marriage? St. Paul is his letter to the Church at Ephesus calls it a “great mystery.” In the original Greek, Paul used the word mystērion, a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding (Strong’s Concordance G3466). In rabbinic writings, the word mystērion denotes a mystic or hidden sense to a biblical saying. What is this hidden sense of marriage that Paul is speaking about?

The Latin word for the Greek mystērion is sacrāmentum. We should recognize this as today’s sacrament. And what is a sacrament? A sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible reality, elevated by Jesus, which gives grace. The visible sign of the Sacrament of Marriage is love, compassion, mercy, kindness, faithfulness and long-suffering. The invisible reality is the love shared between the three persons of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


Marriage is to be an image of God’s love. To reflect the love of the Trinity, we need grace. We cannot love like God through our own efforts; our love is imperfect without the grace of God.

In marriage, we need to help our spouses experience the love, compassion and mercy of God. Your spouse should be able to say, “Because of you, I know God better. You have made Him tangible to me.” This requires grace upon grace bestowed on us by God on our wedding day.

During a Catholic Nuptial Mass, right after the Lord’s Prayer, the priest prays the Nuptial Blessing over the couple. In reality, this prayer is more of a consecration than a blessing. The priest is calling down God’s grace upon the couple so that they may live out their vocation to marriage as a symbol of God’s love for His people.


Here are the words of one of three nuptial blessings that can be used for this occasion:

Blessing A (emphasis added)[1]

The Priest, with hands joined, calls upon those present to pray, saying:

Dear brothers and sisters, let us humbly pray to the Lord that on these his servants, now married in Christ, he may mercifully pour out the blessings of his grace and make of one heart in love by the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood those he has joined by a holy covenant.

All pray in silence. Then the priest, with hands extended over the bride and bridegroom continues:

O God, who by your mighty power created all things out of nothing, and, when you had set in place the beginnings of the universe, formed man and woman in your own image, making the woman an inseparable helpmate to the man, that they might no longer be two, but one flesh, and taught that what you were pleased to make one must never be divided;

O God, who consecrated the bond of Marriage by so great a mystery that in the wedding covenant you foreshadowed the Sacrament of Christ and his Church;

O God, by whom woman is joined to man and the companionship they had in the beginning is endowed with the one blessing not forfeited by original sin nor washed away by the flood.

Look now with favor upon these your servants, joined together in Marriage, who ask to be strengthened by your blessing. Send down on them the grace of the Holy Spirit and pour your love into their hearts, that they may remain faithful in the Marriage covenant.

May the grace of love and peace abide in your daughter N., and let her always follow the example of those holy women whose praises are sung in the Scriptures.

May her husband entrust his heart to her, so that, acknowledging her as his equal and his joint heir to the life of grace, he may show her due honor and cherish her always with the love that Christ has for his Church.

And now, Lord, we implore you: may these your servants hold fast to the faith and keep your commandments; made one in the flesh, may they be blameless in all they do; and with the strength that comes from the Gospel, may they bear true witness to Christ before all; may they be blessed with children, and prove themselves virtuous parents, who live to see their children’s children.

And grant that, reaching at last together the fullness of years for which they hope, they may come to the life of the blessed in the Kingdom of Heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is the most remarkable prayer that a priest (or deacon) can say! The couple is forever changed at this point. They are infused with sacramental power to make God tangible to their spouse, to help them see a glimpse of Jesus. May all marriages reflect the love of God so that the world may see Christ through the love we show to each other.

May God bless you and fill you to overflowing with His love.

[1] Ibreviary, http://www.ibreviary.com/m/preghiere.php?tipo=Rito&id=202#nuptialbless (accessed October 25, 2016).