Unique among the sacraments is the Sacrament of Marriage, which is – along with Holy Orders – one of the two sacraments of vocation. Marriage, as a sacrament, gives the husband and wife the grace to mirror the love that Almighty God has for His people.
Marriage being elevated to a sacrament was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. In Genesis, the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea (among others), God’s relationship to humanity is presented as a marriage – a complete giving of one’s self for the good of the other. God presents Himself to humanity as the forever-faithful spouse Who wishes to wed the Church as His bride. Individual Christians, therefore, are part of the larger whole: together as the Church, we are part of God’s life.
Those who receive the Sacrament of Marriage are to mirror the relationship of Christ to the Church in their fidelity to one another. The wedding night prayer of Tobiah and Sarah speaks to this: “not with lust but with fidelity do I take this woman as my wife; send down Your mercy upon me and her, grant that we may grow old together, and bless us with children” (Tobit 8:7). Thus, “the covenant between the spouses is integrated into God’s covenant with humanity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1639).
Married love then becomes a microcosm of the larger Church. The family home is where the young Christians learn the Faith and learn to act as Christians; “thus the home is the first school of Christian life” (CCC 1657). A family which believes and practices the faith is then able to bring that Faith into the larger world and evangelize others to know, love, and serve Christ.