A Reflection on Marriage: In Unity and Love
“It is not good that the man should be alone…”
Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone…”
This is the first time in Sacred Scripture that our Lord says anything in creation is “not good.” The light was good. The stars and the beasts of the earth were good. But it is not good that man should be alone. So our Creator, in perfect love, creates the human community of love. “I will make him a helper fit for him.” Not only will God give man a helper but the way he forms woman brings union to all humanity.
Genesis 2:21 “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man…took one of his ribs …and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” So this new creation of God was not to be as the beasts and the stars. Not to be separate from man. For this new creation was joined to man out of his own flesh. How did the man react to this gift from his Creator? “Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” Adam saw that woman was unique for she was forever a part of him. For she was created from the “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” The woman completes the man. He is not complete without her for she has his very bone as her beginning. Man has been given life by his Creator. Woman has been given her very existence as gift out of the very substance of man. What is the appropriate response to such gifts? Gratitude. Gratitude for the life, from love, God has given to man and woman. And gratitude for the gift of one another. For God now viewed his Creation, “everything he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
What does this mean to sons of Adam today? What is man to do in relation to his life with woman? “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
They become one flesh in the sacrament of marriage. How important is this to Jesus? Perhaps we can draw an answer to this from the wedding in Cana. Jesus lived life with a purpose. He had a mission and what he did in his earthly life tells us what we should remember about his, and our, mission. In Cana he is part of the celebration of the joining of a man and woman. There he performs his first public miracle. Is this a sign of the importance of marriage in the kingdom of God?
Even this is only the beginning of the story. Now they are joined. They are one flesh. How are they to live the life of nuptial bliss? Jesus gives an answer to this question.
In John 17:21 Jesus prays that his disciples “…may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” With these words as a guide the family, the center of Christian life, may emulate the perfect community of love, the Blessed Trinity. Then they will play their part inspiring the whole world to believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Are we really capable of living love patterned after that perfect community? Jesus prayed that it would be so: “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” A prayer for perfect love so that we may demonstrate to the world the Father’s love. This is a mission for marriage and family life. Jesus wants this for us, his family. This is why he prays that “the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” He in us and we in him. One flesh. A union with God and with one another. Then may come forth generations to spread God’s love to the world. Let it be so. Amen.
Dedicated to Marti and Winston Elliott IV