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Marriage: The Forgotten Sacrament and the Shortage of Priests

By Peg Luksik
July 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

At the installation of Pope Pius X, it is said that his mother offered him her wedding ring to kiss, reminding him that without her ring, his would never have been possible.  If we are serious about addressing the shortage of priests facing the Catholic Church in America, we should be talking about the importance of the sacrament of matrimony.   Because matrimony is the sacrament that makes new priests possible.

HARRISBURG, PA. (Catholic Online) - At the installation of Pope Pius X, it is said that his mother offered him her wedding ring to kiss, reminding him that without her ring, his would never have been possible.  

If we are serious about addressing the shortage of priests facing the Catholic Church in America, we should be talking about the importance of the sacrament of matrimony.   Because matrimony is the sacrament that makes new priests possible.

It is easy to overlook the fact that matrimony is a sacrament and a vocation, with the same purpose as every other sacrament - the salvation of the souls of those who participate in it.  Marriage is most often the neglected sacrament.  Matrimony as a path to salvation is almost a foreign concept.

Yet marriage as sacrament is the very basis for building a relationship with Christ Himself.  It is no accident that the metaphor for the connection between Christ and His Church is Bridegroom and Bride.  The words describing marriage, "two shall become one", are a perfect description of the type of communion our Creator seeks with us. 

When marriage is a sacrament, the couple is open to God's will in every aspect of their lives. They commit to the irrevocable nature of the covenant they make with each other, knowing that without God's active involvement such a promise would be impossible to keep. 

They understand that it is only as they help each other grow closer to God, that they will grow closer to each other.  And they understand that their openness to God can have no exceptions if their marriage is to succeed.

They follow the Church's teaching on remaining open to life in their sexuality, not as a burden, but as a commitment to keeping Christ at the center of their love for each other.  Immediate gratification is less important than seeing and treating each other as God's gift.  They move past "following the rules" into living the love that those rules enable. 

And within that circle of love, each child is welcomed as a living embodiment of that love.

When marriage is sacrament, children grow up in a family where Christ's presence is the heartbeat of the home.  In such homes, the children do not just go to Mass on Sunday, or learn their faith in school.  In such homes, Christ is simply a member of the family. No one has to think about His presence, everyone just knows that He is there.

Families in which children grow up surrounded by the living sacrament of matrimony are much more likely to respond to the call to live the sacrament of Holy Orders.  The idea of putting Christ at the center of their lives is not foreign because they saw their parents spend a lifetime doing just that. 

The thought of following God's will instead of their own desires is not an impossible hurdle because they saw the blessings that flowed when their parents did so.  And the fear of making an irrevocable promise is replaced by the knowledge that with God, such promises are not only possible, but a door to immeasurable blessings for everyone that promise touches.

The Pope's mother was right - her ring DID make his possible.  If we truly want to address the shortage of those participating in the sacrament of Holy Orders, we must restore the sacrament of matrimony to the position of reverence and honor that it deserves.

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Peg Luksik is the Chairman of Founded on Truth.  Visit her website at www.foundedontruth.com

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