Living together and Catholic Marriage
Anonymous asked this question on 7/17/2000:
My fiancé and I want to be married in the Catholic church (as I am Catholic) and we also want the blessing of the church. However, we live together. When we go talk to my priest about becoming married, what will the priest say (or suggest) about our current living arrangement?
mscperu gave this response on 7/18/2000:
Your question shows that you know about the teaching of the Church that the mutual donation of the couple should be in sanctity. The Church like God hates sin because of the damage it does to her children but he loves the sinners. Accept that you have done wrong and let the Church help you.
Christ has given His Church two gifts as to make her grow in His members: the sacrament of holy marriage and the sacrament of holy orders. Being a priest I exercise the sacrament, i.e. Christ acts through me when I forgive sins in His name and especially when a celebrate the Eucharist. This way He makes His Church grow in sanctity.
How do you think that the sacrament of marriage is exercised? Saint Paul teaches that the union of man and wife (in holy wedlock) is a re-actualization of the union of Christ with His Church.
The ancients have an allegory to explain this:
They teach that the Christian couple enjoys three altars:
- The first one is the altar of your Church where you receive the Word of God and Christ's Body for everlasting life.
- The second altar is the family table where the family blesses God for His love, where they share, talk, educate, forgive each other, and so on.
- The third one is the bridal room "thalamus" where the mutual donation of Christ and His Church is re-enacted and it is as holy as when I celebrate mass. That is why many couples bless God on their knees before making love.
You have chosen to reject at least two altars. I don't know if you bless God before and thank Him after partaking of His gifts at your table. You have said to God that you don't want Him involved in your mutual donation. It is like having at your disposition a way of loving each other that exceeds all human ability and you chose not to exercise it.
But God is compassionate. He can rebuild what you have destroyed. He loves you both. So He established the Church so she might in His Name forgive you and sanctify your union.
Now I suggest to you something that might strike you as odd but it would show that you aren't interested only in a rite of the Church but as His children it will be proof that you want to give back to God what belongs to His Holiness. If you both have a perception of the sanctity that God wants to give you why don't you refrain from sexual relations until it is a sacrament, i.e. the donation of Christ to His Church? Why not wait? Who has faith understand what I am telling you.
I don't know if you have an idea that you should love God above everything and everybody. It is the only way to be really happy. If you have you will understand.
God bless you
in Corde Jesu