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Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist – His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Did you know that marriage is an image of the Holy Eucharist?

Since its earliest days, the Church has held up marriage as a profound image of God’s love for His people, brought to fruition in Christ’s love for His bride, the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, describes how God’s covenant with His people Israel images the union of man and woman in marriage:

The election of Israel…appears as the love story of God and his people. The covenant is expounded through the analogy of betrothal and marriage, as the binding of God’s love to man and of man to God. Thus human love was able to serve as a profoundly real analogy of God’s action in Israel.[1]

He further describes how the Eucharist parallels the union of man and woman in marriage:

In the Eucharist a communion takes place that corresponds to the union of man and woman in marriage. Just as they become “one flesh,” so in Communion we all become “one spirit,” one person, with Christ. The spousal mystery, announced in the Old Testament, of the intimate union of God and man takes place in the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, precisely through his Passion and in a very real way (see Eph 5:29-32; 1 Cor 6:17; Gal 3:28).[2]

Early in His public ministry, Jesus presented Himself as the Bridegroom. When asked why His disciples did not fast like the disciples of John and the Pharisees, Jesus responds:

“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” Mark 2:19-20

In his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), Saint John Paul II illustrates this truth of Christ the Bridegroom in a powerful way:

Christ is the Bridegroom because “he has given himself”: his body has been “given,” his blood has been “poured out” (see Lk 22:19-20). In this way “he loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1). The “sincere gift” contained in the Sacrifice of the Cross gives definitive prominence to the spousal meaning of God’s love. As the Redeemer of the world, Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church. The Eucharist is the Sacrament of our Redemption. It is the Sacrament of the Bridegroom and of the Bride…Christ is united with his “body” as the bridegroom with the bride. All this is contained in the Letter to the Ephesians. The perennial “unity of the two” that exists between man and woman from the very “beginning” is introduced into this “great mystery” of Christ and the Church.[3] (emphasis added)

In their wedding vows, husband and wife commit to total, free, faithful, and fruitful love. This is what Christ has also done for us on the cross. At the Last Supper, the first celebration of the Eucharistic feast, Christ said “This is my body given for you.” When husband and wife consummate their marriage in the marital embrace, they echo the words of Christ in giving their bodies to each other in one-flesh union. And every time after, when they engage in the marital embrace, they are renewing the vows they made to each other on their wedding day. Marriage points to the Eucharist. As St. Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians,

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32

Marriage and the Eucharist image each other in self-sacrificial gift. May your marriage be a living image of the love of Christ in dying for us on the cross. To strengthen your resolve to live faithfully your marriage vows, heed the words of St. John Bosco…

Do you want the Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit Him rarely. Do you want the devil to attack you? Visit Jesus rarely in the Blessed Sacrament. Do you want him to flee from you? Visit Jesus often. Do you want to be conquered by the devil? Forget about visiting Jesus. My dear ones, the visit to the Blessed Sacrament is an extremely necessary way to conquer the devil. Therefore, go often to visit Jesus and the devil will not come out victorious against you.[4]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the “Eucharist as the source and the summit of the Christian life” (CCC, 1324). Feed often on the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ and receive all the grace needed to live your marriage totally, freely, faithfully, and fruitfully. Visit Him often in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Satan is out to destroy your marriage. The Eucharist is your protection against his evil schemes.

[1] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000), 141.

[2] Ibid., 142.

[3] John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, §26, internet: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1988/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19880815_mulieris-dignitatem.html (accessed June 5, 2021).

[4] Susan Tassone, St. Faustina Prayer Book for Adoration (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2018), internet: Google Book (accessed June 5, 2021).