The Christian family shows the Savior’s living presence in the world through (1) the mutual love of the husband and wife, (2) the spouses’ generous fruitfulness, (3) their fidelity and unity, and (4) the loving relationships among its members.
1. The Christian family shows the Savior’s living presence in the world through the mutual love of husband and wife.
The Sacrament of Matrimony is a life-long partnership of love. Since our Lord raised Matrimony to the dignity of a sacrament for the baptized, the spouses, living in Christ’s grace, imitate and represent Christ’s love for His Church. By their love for each other, they manifest to the world our Savior’s living presence.
2. The Christian family shows the Savior’s living presence in the world through the spouses’ generous fruitfulness.
Children are the greatest blessing in the Sacrament of Matrimony. They enrich the love of husbands and wives and so fulfill one of the purposes of Matrimony.
The Holy Spirit unites man and woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony, and consecrates them so that they may bring Christ’s three-fold mission of prophet, king and priest into family life. The spouses build up the Church by teaching, guiding, and sanctifying their children and one another. If husbands and wives cooperate generously with God according to His will by enlarging His family on earth, they will be blessed in this life and especially in Heaven. Their fruitfulness is a sign of Christ’s presence in the world.
3. The Christian family shows the Savior’s living presence in the world through the spouses’ fidelity and unity.
Through their loving union and faithful love, Christian marriage teaches the importance of self-giving and sacrifice. When the spouses are of one mind and heart, a caring atmosphere is created for the raising and educating of children. Witnessing the loving union and fidelity of their parents, children are taught to cooperate with and have concern for others. This can be accomplished only with the help of Christ’s grace.
In order to carry on Christ’s mission, couples must strive to be truly united, as one in Christ. They can grow closer to each other with the help of actual graces of the Holy Spirit, given in the Sacrament of Matrimony. The Spirit gives them power to be faithfully dedicated to each other and to overcome any obstacles to their unity, obstacles such as indifference to each other’s needs, hurting each other’s feelings, and failing to understand.
4. The Christian family shows the Savior’s living presence in the world by the loving relationships among its members.
Anything expressive of love is already a reaching out to God. God uses our efforts of self-giving within the family to draw us ever more deeply into His own life.
In making it a sacrament, our Lord gave Matrimony a new beauty and a new power to sanctify. Sacramental marriage is not merely the lawful union of man and wife; it is a source of holiness—a means of closer union of a man and woman with God, and with each other. This union of husband and wife is a life-giving union which imparts grace to them and to their children. As the Christian family lives together in loving support of one another, they bring Christ’s living presence into the world.