Our Lord at Cana blessed the estate of holy matrimony. He did this both by His attendance as well as His support of the wedding by turning water into wine. Christ was definitely not rejecting marriage as a carnal, filthy, unworthy vocation for people who are little better than pigs. No, Christ showed that marriage is well-pleasing in His sight, and worth celebrating.
He is the Lord of marriage. In the beginning, He first joined Adam and Eve as the first husband and wife. His desire is that man and woman should live together in this vocation with love, bearing and raising godly children.
What great things we could say about marriage! Yet in our day, so many people declare that “Marriage is just a piece of paper.” Or, “We don’t want to ruin our relationship by getting married.” Or, “Marriage is a dead institution.”
Why do people say such things? I think it is at least partly because, for a long time, people painted an overly romantic and idealized picture of what marriage should be. Two people should always be in love and never have any disharmony between them. This is also why weddings are often outrageously decadent and expensive. Some people seem to want to show how magical their love is by a fairy-tale wedding ceremony and debt-inducing honeymoon.
Six months later they may be divorced. Harsh reality sets in. They discover that this person they married has turned out to have a number of hidden flaws that are unacceptable. Divorce is then seen as the antidote to the problems a spouse presents.
The very high divorce rate is largely due to the increased rates of sleeping and living together before the wedding. These things, besides being sins in God’s sight, have been shown time and again to be statistical killers of marriage.
So the fairy-tale view of marriage dies a slow and painful death under the harsh realities of marriage. Scripture warned us of all this. Because sin entered the world, God placed a cross upon marriage. Childbirth is difficult for women. There is also the distasteful problem of submitting to a husband. Many simply prefer to be their own woman and ignore their husband when they please. On the other hand, the husband is to sacrifice for his wife. He is to work hard, a burden made much worse because sin makes labor all the more difficult. Thorns and thistles infest the ground, whether it is literal ground for the farmer or simply the troubles of the workplace. By the sweat of his brow, a husband supports his family until he returns to the dust of the earth.
And there are many other problems that sin brings into marriage, while satan tries to disrupt this estate that he hates.
But we do not suffer in vain in this vocation. Our work for spouse and home and children is well-pleasing in God’s sight. Our toil is an offering made acceptable in Christ. Our dear Lord, by atoning for our sin, has hallowed even the crosses of those who believe in Him. For there are indeed crosses laid upon marriage, contrary to the view of those who say that marriage is nothing but bliss and joy. Although marriage is a blessing from God that He supports and wishes for our joy, it is also hard work that comes with much trouble.
But God will be with us in that trouble. He blesses us with children, which are the wonderful fruit of marriage. It does not always seem so at the time, for again there is hard work and trouble. Yet we must see as He does who inspired Solomon to say, “Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor of the Lord,” who also calls children arrows in our quiver.
We should believe that God will not forsake His children, but be ever present in our marriages with His bountiful blessings, even when we cannot see those blessings with our earthly eyes.
For He will bless our marriages with the wine of bounty and joy. Sometimes we must get along with lack and sadness. We must have merely water, as if we are getting by on survival rations. But soon enough our dear Lord will lighten our lives with His gifts.
“Soon” is a crucial word, for the Lord’s time is not ours. Like the Mother of our Lord, we may ask Him to act soon, and think the time is right. But He may put us off, and seem unfriendly to us because He does not send the wine of joy soon enough for our liking.
Sometimes, we are even left outside of marriage, and wonder when God will send us someone with whom to share our lives. But He delays. We should be patient, and continue to pray that He send us a godly spouse, for that is a great blessing. He will send joy soon enough, even if that means that we live a single life until the eternal wedding feast. Whatever the path He sets us on, we know that His wisdom and timing are best. It will not feel that way all the time, so we must hold onto the fact that He is the loving Lord who watches over His people. He is at our weddings, and concerns Himself with our well-being. We must trust that He will lead us through dark paths to His light.
So we look to Him, the Bridegroom of the Church, the model of perfect love. We gaze upon His Passion, as He suffered untold agony for us unworthy ones, so that we might be His Bride. So He has betrothed us to Him, except that here it is the reverse of our marriages. It will no longer be, “Till death do us part.” Instead, death will bring us to Him. Resurrection from our graves will begin the marriage feast. Then we will never be parted from Him in the deathless land where there will be no more partings, no more separation, no more regrets. All will be perfect, for our Lord will see to all details of the eternal banquet.
In His Name and to His glory. Amen.
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