The Rebuke of Adam and Eve
Charles Joseph Natoire (c. 1740)
Matrimony is one of the two sacraments of service in the Catholic Church, the other being Holy Orders. These sacraments “are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1534). Along with the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, “they ground the common vocation of all Christ’s disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world” (CCC, 1533).
My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Sirach 2:1
Sirach is the largest and most comprehensive example of Wisdom Literature in the Canon of Sacred Scripture. Thought to be written between 200-175 BC, its author warns future generations that trials await those in service of the Lord.
Marriage, as a Sacrament of Service, is certainly under attack. The love of husband and wife in holy matrimony images the love of Christ for His Bride, the Church (see Eph 5:25-31). If Satan can destroy marriage, he destroys the image of God’s unfailing love for us.
Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Satan deceived Adam and Eve into thinking that God was holding out on them, that He really did not love them. Adam and Eve’s sin was failing to trust in the goodness of God. Satan is the enemy of Christian marriage and family life. He is the Father of Lies (Jn 8:44) and the Destroyer (Rev 9:11). He will do everything he can to cause discord, division and strife between husbands and wives. Draw ever closer to Christ and He will protect you.
Set your heart right and be steadfast, and do not be hasty in time of calamity. Cleave to him and do not depart, that you may be honored at the end of your life. Accept whatever is brought upon you, and in changes that humble you be patient. For gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation. Trust in him, and he will help you; make your ways straight, and hope in him. Sirach 2:2-6
Staying close to Christ through partaking in the Eucharist, frequent confession, and praying together as a couple will help stave off the attacks of the Evil One. Confession is so important in the fight against the enemy because he likes to work in secret, in darkness. By shining the light of Christ on his evil plots to destroy you and your marriage, his power is broken.
You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; and turn not aside, lest you fall. You who fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not fail; you who fear the Lord, hope for good things, for everlasting joy and mercy. Consider the ancient generations and see: who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame? Or who ever persevered in the fear of the Lord and was forsaken? Or who ever called upon him and was overlooked? For the Lord is compassionate and merciful; he forgives sins and saves in time of affliction. Sirach 2:7-11
When you trust in God by living a holy life according to His plan for your marriage, He will protect you from the Evil One. May your marriage be a beacon of light and hope in a world darkened by sin and division. In doing so, your marriage will be a witness to God’s unfailing love for humanity and may well attract others to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.