Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Seven Sacraments and Their Liturgies, Part 7: Marriage

Previous parts in this series:
Part 1: Introduction to the Sacraments
Part 2: Baptism
Part 3: Confirmation
Part 4: Eucharist
Part 4.1: De Defectibus
Part 5: Penance
Part 6: Extreme Unction

When God created mankind in his own image, he created them male and female, blessed them, and commanded them to “increase and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28). Throughout the story of creation, God repeatedly says that his creation is good (Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). Then, for the first time, God says that something is not good. “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). God then creates Eve out of Adam's breast to be a helper and companion to him.

Since Adam and Eve, the sacred union between a man and a woman has been the cornerstone of society. St. Augustine writes, “The first natural bond of human society is man and wife.” Marriage appears constantly throughout Sacred Scripture as a part of God's plan for humanity. Much of the Old Covenant law concerns marriage (e.g. Leviticus 18:6‑29). The archangel Raphael directed the Israelite Tobit to marry Sarah (Tobit 7:12-15). The book of Song of Songs is a poem on the love of marriage. In the New Testament, Jesus's first miracle, was at a wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1‑11). Later in his public ministry, Jesus acknowledged that God created mankind male and female, and said, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-5). St. Paul writes repeatedly in his Epistles about the sanctity of the married life. In Ephesians 5:22-26, he compares the relationship between husband and wife to the relationship between Christ and the Church. Because man was made directly in God's image, the husband is the head of the marriage. Thus, wives ought to be subject to their husbands as the Church is subject to Christ. Husbands must love and support their wives as Christ loves and supports the Church. Just as Christ willingly gave himself to die for the Church, men should strive to have that same perfect, sacrificial love for their wives.

The roles of husband and wife described by St. Paul are very different from what society expects, both in the first century and in the twenty-first century. The two extremes of viewing women as their husbands' property or of having no distinction between the roles of men and women are both wrong. Every marriage should strive to emulate the relationship between Christ and his Church, which is a loving and generous two-way relationship. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that God did not create Eve from Adam's foot, because he did not wish her to be an inferior slave. God also did not create Eve from Adam's head, because he did not wish her to be superior or to usurp the man's position as the head of the family. Rather, he created Eve from Adam's rib (Summa Theologiæ Ia, Q. 92, A.3). Thus, God ordained men to be the head of the marriage and the family. Men must strive for the spiritual strength and courage to be the head of the family and lead their wives and children to God.

There are a few very important social and political issues today that concern the sacrament of marriage. First of all, God instituted the sacrament of marriage strictly between one man and one woman. “Same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron. God created mankind male and female, as Jesus reaffirmed in Matthew 19:4. Same-sex couples are not capable of carrying out God's mandate to increase and multiply. God created man and woman to be together and complement each other (Genesis 2:18-24). When the inhabitants of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah engaged in persistent homosexual acts, God destroyed the cities with fire and brimstone (Genesis 13:13, 18:20, 19:24-28). St. Paul writes that homosexual acts are inherently disordered (Romans 1:26-27) and that those who engage in the sin of Sodom will not enter heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:10-11). Thus, the sacrament of marriage is between one man and one woman. For the many people who, through no fault of their own, experience same-sex attractions, the Church teaches that they are called to a life of chastity and celibacy.

An essential part of marriage is openness to procreation, in obedience to God's command to increase and multiply. Thus, anything that deliberately obstructs procreation is sinful. For example, contraception prevents procreation and allows sexual intercourse to be purely for pleasure and without consequence. Not only is this a violation of God's command, but it also results in selfishness, because the focus is no longer on the good of the spouses and the creation of life, but on one's personal pleasure. This selfishness results in the spouses seeing each other as objects for pleasure instead of as people created in the image of God. In his 1968 encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI warned that widespread use of contraception would result in an increase in infidelity and illegitimacy, a general lowering of moral standards, the reduction of women to objects used to satisfy men, and government coercion in reproductive matters. All four of these are rampant in today's society. Thus, contraception is mortally sinful. However, women have natural fertile and infertile periods, and St. Paul wrote that it is okay to use these periods for the good of the spouses (1 Corinthians 7:5). This practice is known as natural family planning (NFP). Some parishes and dioceses offer classes in natural family planning.

Abortion takes the evils of contraception a step further by destroying life that has already been created. God spoke through the Prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee” (Jeremiah 1:5). Children who have not yet been born are still people created in the image and likeness of God. To murder them before they are even born is an abomination. Abortion in all cases is mortally sinful and carries a penalty of automatic excommunication.

Finally, pornography reduces sex to pleasure and entertainment, and it reduces people to objects. It is a perversion of God's plan for humanity. Not only is it mortally sinful, but it is also extremely dangerous to marriage. In 2005, marriage and family therapist Dr. Jill Manning found that pornography was a factor in 56% of divorces in the United States.

The essential matter of the sacrament of marriage is a man and a woman. The essential form is their consent to give themselves completely to each other in marriage. The ministers of the sacrament are the bride and groom themselves, who minister the sacrament to each other. Catholics are obligated to contract their marriage in a church, to be witnessed and blessed by a priest or deacon. At least one other Catholic witness is required.

There are many possible impediments, or conditions that prevent a valid marriage from taking place. In any of these cases, no sacrament takes place. (This is not an exhaustive list.)
  • The groom is under 16 years old or the bride is under 14 years old
  • Either party is already validly married.
  • One party is Catholic and the other is not baptized.
  • The groom is a priest.
  • Either party took a vow of chastity as a member of a religious order.
  • Abduction with the intent of marriage.
  • One party murdered their former spouse in order to marry another.
  • Close blood relationship.

The union of marriage lasts until death. Jesus said that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery (Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18). St. Paul reaffirms that marriage lasts until the death of one of the spouses (Romans 7:2-3). Thus, one can get remarried if and only if one's spouse dies. If there was no valid, sacramental marriage in the first place, then the Church can grant a declaration of nullity, also known as an annulment, which frees the persons concerned to marry other people. It is not a “Catholic divorce,” and it does not contradict our Lord's command that marriage be until death, because the persons were never married in the first place. A declaration of nullity can be granted in the case of any of the impediments listed above, or if one of the spouses did not intend to consent to a life-long union open to procreation.

The Banns of Marriage are traditionally announced from the pulpit each of the three Sundays or holy days before the wedding. The priest announces the names of the two people who plan to marry, and then admonishes the congregation, “If anyone knows of any reason why this marriage should not go forward, please contact the pastor.” Anyone who knows of any impediments is then obligated to inform the pastor. In historical times, it was entirely plausible that one of the spouses-to-be might have had a previous marriage that most people did not know about. In the modern age of social media, the Banns of Marriage are not as useful as they once were, so they are no longer required. However, many parishes continue the tradition.

There is a rite for marriage in the Roman Ritual, but it is not commonly used. The Catholic Church, in her efforts to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth, has always striven to respect local cultures and customs. One way that the Church does this is by allowing cultures to retain their wedding traditions. Thus, the exact form of a wedding varies from place to place. I will describe the most common practice in English-speaking countries.

The priest wears amice, alb, cincture, stole, and cope. The liturgical color is white. To begin the ceremony, the priest may briefly address the faithful. During the Protestant Reformation, this was made into the iconic “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today...” speech. Next, the priest asks the bride and the groom for their consent, using only first names. This is the essential form of the sacrament.

N., wilt thou take N. here present for thy lawful wife, according to the rite of our Holy Mother the Church?
I will.
N., wilt thou take N. here present for thy lawful husband, according to the rite of our Holy Mother the Church?
I will.

In English-speaking countries, it is customary for the bride and groom to make vows to each other, although there are no such vows in the Roman Ritual. It is the consent, not the vows, that effects the marriage. These vows come from the Sarum Rite, a peculiar form of the liturgy used in medieval England.

I, N., take thee, N., to my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, till death do us part, if holy Church will it permit; and thereto I plight thee my troth.


I, N., take thee, N., to my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, till death do us part, if holy Church will it permit; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

In the medieval Sarum Ritual, the bride's vow also contained the phrase, “To be bonny and buxom in bed and at board,” meaning to be well-behaved and obedient. This is no longer included, because nobody today can say those words without laughing. At the Protestant Reformation, this was changed to the famous “love, honor, and obey.”

When the vows are finished, the priest declares them to be married.

Ego conjúngo vos in matrimónium. In nómine Patris, et Fílii, + et Spíritus Sancti. Amen. I join you in Matrimony. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The priest then sprinkles the bride and groom with holy water. Next, the priest blesses the rings, which are symbols of the marriage. Wedding rings trace their origins to ancient Egypt. They have been used in Catholic weddings since the Middle Ages. Historically, only the groom would give the bride a ring, but today, both the bride and groom usually give each other rings. In addition to rings, the bride and groom give each other pieces of silver and gold. This originated in a time when marriages often involved an exchange of wealth between the families. Today, it is preserved as a symbol of the bride and groom sacrificing earthly wealth for each other.

Adjutórium nostrum in nómine Dómini.
Qui fecit cælum et terram.
Dómine, exáudi oratiónem meam.
Et clamor meus ad te véniat.
Dóminus vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.
Orémus.
Béne+dic, Dómine, ánulum hunc, quem nos in tuo nómine bene+dícimus: ut, quæ eum gestáverit, fidelitátem íntegram suo sponso tenens, in pace et voluntáte tua permáneat, atque in mútua caritáte semper vivat. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Amen.
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Who made heaven and earth.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come to you.
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
Bless + O Lord, this ring, which we are blessing + in thy name, so that she who wears it, keeping faith with her husband in unbroken loyalty, may ever remain at peace with thee, obedient to thy will, and may live with him always in mutual love. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The priest sprinkles the rings and pieces of silver and gold with holy water. The husband gives his wife the pieces of silver and gold and the ring while saying the following words.

With this ring I thee wed; this gold and silver I thee give, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

When he says, “In the name of the Father,” he places the ring on his wife's thumb; when he says, “and of the Son,” he places it on her index finger; when he says, “and of the Holy Ghost,” he places it on her middle finger; and finally, when he says, “Amen,” he places it and leaves it on her ring finger. For many centuries, it was believed that the ring finger of the left hand had a special vein leading directly to the heart, so it became a tradition to put wedding rings on this finger. The wife then presents her husband with a ring and pieces of silver and gold using the same ceremony.

Prayers are then offered for the husband and wife. They have a similar form to the preces sung at Lauds and Vespers. The first versicle and response is the same as the one from the ceremony of Confirmation. Like Confirmation, the sacrament of Matrimony strengthens the husband and wife in faith.

Confírma hoc, Deus, quod operátus es in nobis.
A templo sancto tuo, quod est in Jerúsalem.
Kýrie, eléison. Christe, eléison. Kýrie, eléison.
Pater noster, qui es in cælis, sanctificétur nomen tuum: advéniat regnum tuum: fiat volúntas tua, sicut in cælo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidiánum da nobis hódie: et dimítte nobis débita nostra, sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostris:
Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem.
Sed líbera nos a malo.
Salvos fac servos tuos.
Deus meus, sperántes in te.
Mitte eis, Dómine, auxílium de sancto.
Et de Sion tuére eos.
Esto eis, Dómine, turris fortitúdinis.
A fácie inimíci.
Dómine, exáudi oratiónem meam.
Et clamor meus ad te véniat.
Dóminus vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.
Orémus.
Réspice, quæsumus, Dómine, super hos fámulos tuos: et institútis tuis, quibus propagatiónem humáni géneris ordinásti, benígnus assíste; ut qui te auctóre jungúntur, te auxiliánte servéntur. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Amen.
Strengthen, O God, what you have wrought in us.
From your holy temple, which is in Jerusalem.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation.
But deliver us from evil.
Save your servants.
Who trust in you, my God.
Send them help, O Lord, from your sanctuary.
And sustain them from Sion.
Be a tower of strength for them, O Lord.
Against the attack of the enemy.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come to you.
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
We beg you, Lord, to look on these your servants, and graciously to uphold the institution of marriage established by you for the continuation of the human race, so that they who have been joined together by your authority may remain faithful together by your help. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

If necessary, any procedures required by civil law, such as signing a marriage license, may then follow. Afterwards, the nuptial Mass is offered. The nuptial Mass is a special Mass offered for the bride and groom. The liturgical color is white. Mass begins as usual with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. The Introit is taken from Tobit 7:15, 8:19, and Psalm 127:1. During Paschaltide, “Alleluia, alleluia” is added.

Deus Israel coniúngat vos: et ipse sit vobíscum, qui misértus est duóbus únicis: et nunc, Dómine, fac eos plénius benedícere te. (Alleluia, alleluia.)
Beáti omnes, qui timent Dóminum: qui ámbulant in viis eius.
Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper: et in sæcula sæculórum. Amen.
Deus Israel coniúngat vos: et ipse sit vobíscum, qui misértus est duóbus únicis: et nunc, Dómine, fac eos plénius benedícere te. (Alleluia, alleluia.)
May the God of Israel join you together: and may he be with you, who was merciful to two only children: and now, O Lord, make them bless thee more fully. (Alleluia, alleluia.)
Blessed are all they that fear the Lord, that walk in his ways.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
May the God of Israel join you together: and may he be with you, who was merciful to two only children: and now, O Lord, make them bless thee more fully. (Alleluia, alleluia.)

Because it is a joyful occasion, the Gloria is sung. The Epistle is St. Paul's exhortation on marriage from Ephesians 5:22-33. He admonishes wives to be subject to their husbands and husbands to love their wives, representing the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Fratres: Mulieres viris suis subditae sint, sicut Domino: quoniam vir caput est mulieris, sicut Christus caput est Ecclesiae: ipse, salvator corporis ejus. Sed sicut Ecclesia subjecta est Christo, ita et mulieres viris suis in omnibus. Viri, diligite uxores vestras, sicut et Christus dilexit Ecclesiam, et seipsum tradidit pro ea, ut illam sanctificaret, mundans lavacro aquae in verbo vitae, ut exhiberet ipse sibi gloriosam Ecclesiam, non habentem maculam, aut rugam, aut aliquid hujusmodi, sed ut sit sancta et immaculata. Ita et viri debent diligere uxores suas ut corpora sua. Qui suam uxorem diligit, seipsum diligit. Nemo enim umquam carnem suam odio habuit: sed nutrit et fovet eam, sicut et Christus Ecclesiam: quia membra sumus corporis ejus, de carne ejus et de ossibus ejus. Propter hoc relinquet homo patrem et matrem suam, et adhaerebit uxori suae, et erunt duo in carne una. Sacramentum hoc magnum est, ego autem dico in Christo et in Ecclesia. Verumtamen et vos singuli, unusquisque uxorem suam sicut seipsum diligat: uxor autem timeat virum suum. Brethren: Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular love his wife as himself: and let the wife fear her husband.

The Gradual is taken from Psalm 127:3, which praises the beauty of a Christian family. It is followed by the Alleluia verse from Psalm 19:3, which prays for God's divine assistance for the husband and wife.

Uxor tua sicut vitis abúndans in latéribus domus tuæ. Fílii tui sicut novéllæ olivárum in circúitu mensæ tuæ.


Allelúia, allelúia. Mittat vobis Dóminus auxílium de sancto: et de Sion tueátur vos. Allelúia.
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine on the sides of thy house. Thy children as olive plants round about thy table.


Alleluia, alleluia. May the Lord send you help from the sanctuary, and defend you out of Sion. Alleluia.

During Septuagesima and Lent, these are replaced by a Tract, taken from Psalm 127:4-6. These are the same verses said by the bishop at the end of the Confirmation ceremony, describing the blessedness of those who fear the Lord. This creates another subtle connection between Matrimony and Confirmation.

Ecce sic benedicetur omnis homo qui timet Dominum. Benedicat tibi Dominus ex Sion, et videas bona Jerusalem omnibus diebus vitae tuae. Et videas filios filiorum tuorum: pax super Israel. Behold, thus shall every man be blessed that feareth the Lord. May the Lord bless thee out of Sion: and mayest thou see the good things of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. And mayest thou see thy children's children, peace upon Israel.

The Gospel is taken from from Matthew 19:3-6, Jesus's acknowledgement that God created mankind male and female, stating that the man and woman become one flesh.

In illo tempore: Accesserunt ad Iesum pharisaei tentantes eum, et dicentes: Si licet homini dimittere uxorem suam, quacumque ex causa? Qui respondens, ait eis: Non legistis, quia qui fecit hominem ab initio, masculum et feminam fecit eos? Et dixit: Propter hoc dimittet homo patrem, et matrem, et adhaerebit uxori suae, et erunt duo in carne una. Itaque jam non sunt duo, sed una caro. Quod ergo Deus conjunxit, homo non separet. At that time, there came to Jesus the Pharisees tempting him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, Made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

The Credo is not sung unless it is a feast of the second class. After the Our Father but before the prayer Libera nos, the priest turns to the husband and wife and gives the nuptial blessing, which is a special blessing for the couple. Since the Mass is our highest form of worship to God, some of the most solemn blessings, such as the nuptial blessing, are given in the context of the Mass. The nuptial blessing is particularly a blessing for the bride, because woman was created to be a helper to man. The bride may only receive this blessing once in a lifetime, so if she is a widow who received the nuptial blessing with her first marriage, then it is omitted. The priest turns to the husband and wife and sings two prayers.

Orémus.
Propitiare, nostris, et Domine, institutis supplicationibus tuis, quibus propagationem humani generis ordinasti, benignus assiste: ut, quod te auctore iungitur, te auxiliante servetur.
Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
Amen.

Orémus.
Deus, nihilo qui cuncta potestate fecisti: virtutis qui, tuae dispodesitis universitatis exordiis, homini, ad imaginem Dei facto, ideo inseparable mulieris adiutorium condidisti, ut femineo corpori de virili dares carne principium, docens, quod ex uno placuisset institui, numquam licere disiungi: Deus, qui tarn excellenti mysterio coniugalem copulam consecrasti, ut Christi et Ecclesiae sacramentum praesignares in foedere nuptiarum: Deus, per quem mulier iungitur viro, et societas principaliter ordinata ea benedictione donatur, quae sola nec per originalis peccati poenam nec per diluvii est ablata sententiam: respice propitius super hanc famulam tuam, quae, maritali iungenda consortio, tua se expetit protectione muniri: sit in ea iugum dilectionis et pacis: fidelis et casta nubat in Christo, imitatrixque sanctarum permaneat feminarum: sit amabilis viro suo, ut Rachel: sapiens, ut Rebecca: longaeva et fidelis, ut Sara: nihil in ea ex actibus suis ille auctor praevaricationis usurpet: nexa fidei mandatisque
permaneat: uni thoro iuncta, contactus illicitos fugiat: muniat infirmitatem suam robore disciplinae: sit verecundia gravis, pudore venerabilis, doctrinis caelestibus erudita: sit fecunda in subole, sit probata et innocens: et ad beatorum requiem atque ad caelestia regna perveniat: et videant ambo filios filiorum suorum usque in tertiam et quartam generationem, et ad optatam perveniant senectutem. Per eundem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
Amen.
Let us pray.
Be gracious, O Lord, to our humble supplications: and graciously assist this thine institution, which thou hast established for the increase of mankind: that what is joined together by thine authority, may be preserved by thine aid. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Amen.

Let us pray.
O God, who by thine own mighty power, didst make all things out of nothing: who, having set in order the beginnings of the world, didst appoint woman to be an inseparable helpmeet to man, made like unto God, so that thou didst give to woman's body its beginnings in man's flesh, thereby teaching that what it pleased thee to form from one substance, might never be lawfully separated: O God, who, by so excellent a mystery hast consecrated the union of man and wife, as to foreshadow in this nuptial bond the union of Christ with his Church: O God, by whom woman is joined to man, and the partnership, ordained from the beginning, is endowed with such blessing that it alone was not withdrawn either by the punishment of original sin, nor by the sentence of the flood: graciously look upon this thy handmaid, who, about to be joined in wedlock, seeks thy defense and protection. May it be to her a yoke of love and peace: faithful and chaste, may she be wedded in Christ, and let her ever be the imitator of holy women: let her be dear to her husband, like Rachel: wise, like Rebecca: long-lived and faithful like Sara. Let not the author of deceit work any of his evil deeds in her. May she continue, clinging to the faith and to the commandments. Bound in one union, let her shun all unlawful contact. Let her protect her weakness by the strength of discipline; let her be grave in behavior, respected for modesty, well-instructed in heavenly doctrine. Let her be fruitful in offspring; be approved and innocent; and come to the repose of the blessed and the kingdom of heaven. May they both see their children's children to the third and fourth generation, and may they reach the old age which they desire. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Amen.

The husband and wife receive Communion at this Mass. The Communion verse is taken from Psalm 127:4, 6, just like the Tract. After the deacon sings “Ite, Missa est,” the priest turns to the husband and wife and sings one more prayer over them.

Deus Abraham, Deus Isaac, et Deus Iacob sit vobiscum: et ipse adimpleat benedictionem suam in vobis: ut videatis filios filiorum vestrorum usque ad tertiam et quartam generationem, et postea vitam aeternam habeatis sine fine: adiuvante Domino nostro Iesu Christo, qui cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivit et regnat Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
Amen.
May the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob be with you: and himself fulfill his blessing on you: that you may see your children's children even to the third and fourth generation: and thereafter possess life everlasting, by the aid of our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, God, world without end.
Amen.

The priest then preaches briefly to the husband and wife. Mass concludes as usual with the blessing and Last Gospel. With St. John's account of our Lord's Incarnation, the husband and wife begin their life together. For years to come, they will be committed to supporting each other, giving each other life, helping each other get to heaven, and doing the same for whatever children God may bless them with. This is no easy task. Jesus said, “He that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me.” However, with the grace of the sacrament of marriage, the husband and wife can bring each other to everlasting life. No matter how difficult the married life may be, the husband and wife can simply recall the words spoken in the Last Gospel: “The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5). Even the greatest darkness of this world cannot comprehend the light of Christ given in the sacrament of Marriage.

New terms
  • natural family planning (NFP) – Using a woman's natural fertile and infertile periods for the good of the spouses.
  • declaration of nullity or annulment – A declaration by a competent Church authority that a marriage was never valid, freeing the persons concerned to remarry.
  • Banns of Marriage – An announcement made the three Sundays or holy days before a wedding, admonishing anyone who knows of any impediment to inform the pastor. This ensures that the marriage is valid.
  • nuptial Mass – A special Mass offered for the bride and groom.
  • nuptial blessing – A special blessing for the bride and groom but particularly the bride, given during the nuptial Mass.

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