Before Christ elevated Marriage to be a sacrament, the concept of marriage was a cultural practice. It was rooted in different communities where the rite of marriage followed certain customs according to the community attached to it. It is through this, that we see many different communities practised polygamy and other issues to do with spouse inheritance in the event of the death of one partner.

Therefore, marriage is the oldest institution as compared to the sign instituted by Christ. Christ made it a sacrament by giving us the mystery of “one flesh,” st Paul in the Letter to Ephesians 5:21-33, acknowledges marriage as a mystery and to understand the mystery, we have the image of the Church and Christ as one.

What is Matrimony?

The term matrimony originates from the Latin word, mater which represents the mother as a symbol of life. Mother gives life and nurtures. We refer to the Church as ‘the mother Church’ because she teaches and sanctifies us. In the contemporaries, we refer to our nations as our motherland, because that is where we are born and get our symbols of identity.

Read more about the sacraments in the Catholic Church,  The groups  and categories of the Sacraments

Patrimony, on the other hand, represents the father as a symbol of wealth. Christ is the wealth of the Church because he entrusted, for instance, the sacraments to the Church, and in turn, the Church invests the Sacraments of Christ to the people so as to achieve our salvation.  In this case, the sacraments are the patrimony of the Church. The wealth and identities of the nations are the wealth of the nations. In the case of the national flag, becomes a patrimony for the nation since the flag gives the identity. Every community, have different patrimonies that identify them.

The sacrament of Matrimony is ratified by the Eucharist and must be consummated at the end of its celebration.

Marriage is different from a wedding. Marriage lasts a lifetime whereas a wedding is a one day show. The Church emphasizes the marriage aspect, because, through matrimony, there is life, nurturing and nourishment.

In terms of a divorce, the Church has a tradition of discouraging divorce, since from the time of Christ, who said that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one and no one shall separate them. Therefore, the church will never campaign for a divorce, rather the church may advise for separation in the case of a discord family. Since what God has joined together, no man can separate. Therefore, marriage is ratified by the sacrament of Eucharist in a liturgical celebration (Mass) and should be consummated.

Read about: Sacraments, Baptism, Infant Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders

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