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Bible with rings

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

On Valentine’s Day, we participated in the funeral Mass for a very dear friend. He died suddenly leaving his beautiful wife of 27 years and six amazing children.

We have known this couple for more than 15 years. During that time, we shared in their joys and sorrows. We celebrated their children’s baptisms, first Communions, confirmations and graduations. We worked side-by-side with them serving the poor and praying for an end to abortion. Their faithful love for each was a great witness to us.

Love never ends…1 Corinthians 13:8

It wasn’t until the visitation that we realized what a difference their marriage made to so many others. Several people stood up to speak of our friend’s constant example of love and devotion to his wife: “He always had her arm around her” and “He always spoke in admiration of her.”

Their marriage exemplified the sentiment expressed by Church father Tertullian in a letter he wrote to his wife in the early third century:

How beautiful…the marriage of two Christians, sharing one hope, one desire, one way of life. They are truly two in one flesh; and where the flesh is one, the spirit is one, also. They pray together, worship together, fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church and partake of God’s Banquet; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another…they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts. They visit the sick and assist the needy.…Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices.[1]

Recently, Archbishop José H. Gomez emphasized the importance of marriage lived in this way:

By the love in our homes —by the sacrifices we make and the love that we hold in our hearts and pass on to our children —we are called to testify to this God who is our Creator and Father. This God, who holds all of this world —and every one of us —in his loving hands.[2]

Marriage as a sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible reality, instituted by Christ as a source of grace. In the Sacrament of Matrimony, the visible sign is the couple themselves. The invisible reality is Jesus. The husband and wife reveal Christ to each other, to their children, and to the whole world. Our dear friends exuded Christ. This is the mission of every married Christian couple.

We pray that your marriage will reveal Christ to everyone you meet…until death do you part.

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

[1] Tertullian, The Beauty of Christian Marriage, internet: http://www.tertullian.org/works/ad_uxorem.htm (accessed February 15, 2020).

[2] José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, Notre Dame Liturgy Conference 2019, internet: https://angelusnews.com/voices/full-text-archbishop-gomez-stresses-importance-of-family-christian-mission-at-nd-liturgy-conference/ (accessed February 15, 2020).