The Cathedral Connection – 12 February 2017

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Valentine’s Day might be a ploy to sell roses, but it is also an opportunity to spotlight the institute of marriage. The long-standing definition of marriage, as a partnership between male and female, has been altered by Parliament, but the Christian ideal of this union sealing a freely given life-long commitment has not changed. Far from trivializing marriage, the focus on definition invites us to honour and celebrate the great gift of marriage and its potential to bring harmony to human society.

Our Catholic tradition holds marriage to be a Sacrament – a sacred sign of God’s presence in the love between husband and wife, and a symbol of the union between Christ and the People of God, the Church. Valentine’s Day enables us to give public recognition to faithfulness in marriage and thanksgiving for the witness of so many couples to the power of love to give, sustain and fulfil life.

At the same time this Day is an occasion to support those for whom marriage has brought heartache and betrayal, and to appreciate the demands of love which can threaten and even overwhelm the strongest union.

Jesus recognised that love is not an easy game to play. His strong words about divorce need to be heard in context with his condemnation of anything harmful to life which “the Law and Prophets” championed above all else. Jesus showed great compassion and understanding towards those unable to meet the ideal. We must do no less.

This week thank God for the joy you see in family life. Pray for couples preparing for marriage, for those struggling to keep their love alive and for those distressed, often unjustly, by separation. If married, renew your vows. If divorced, know you are never separated from God’s love. Let each of us celebrate our oneness in Christ.

Fr James Lyons

The full newsletter can be viewed here.